Nonprofit pledges $50,000 for summer session
By Don Nelson
Friends of the Pool, the nonprofit organization advocating to replace the Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp, has pledged to raise $50,000 toward opening the town-owned facility this summer.
The organization said in a letter sent to the Town Council on April 17 that it has $20,000 on hand that it can provide to the town, and will raise another $30,000 by May 31.
The Town Council agreed at a special meeting last week to proceed with a plan to open the pool, based on the Friends of the Pool commitment. Quick action was necessary because staff must be hired and the pool filled and readied for use. The pool usually opens in early June.
Town officials have said it will cost about $65,000 to operate the pool through the summer, including $15,000 from the Wagner Fund, which was established by the pool’s original benefactors to be used for its operations.
Friends of the Pool said earlier that it will seek the additional $30,000 from individuals who can donate larger amounts, and the organization will not be asking the general public for support at this time.
Because of COVID restrictions, the popular pool remained closed all last summer, not only eliminating a recreational option for valley residents but also wiping the Killer Whales swim team’s season.
COVID restrictions will be in effect this year, consistent with the state’s guidelines for operating such facilities.
The pool is expected to generate revenues from usage fees, but town officials have said it is difficult to estimate how much income the pool might produce. Earlier, the council discussed the possibility of using generated revenues to reimburse Friends of the Pool for some portion of its donations.
At last week’s special meeting, council member Hannah Cordes, the council’s liaison to Friends of the Pool, said the organization isn’t asking for reimbursement and would rather see any excess funds earmarked for future operations.
“They are happy to commit to doing this,” Cordes said of the organization.
Council member Hans Smith said he’s confident the town can now move ahead with preparations to open the pool.
Friends of the Pool has for the past couple of years been working on strategies for funding and building a new facility to replace the Wagner Pool. The pool, which opened in 1967, is more than 50 years old and has required substantial repairs the past few years. Friends of the Pool has raised a substantial amount of money over the years – estimated at about $400,000 – for repairs and operational expenses. Recent repairs, however, have been short-term solutions to keeping the pool operational one season at a time.