By Friends of the Pool board of directors
We are Friends of the Pool, a small group of volunteer community members who share a passion for swimming and believe everyone in the Methow Valley should have safe access to a pool. We believe pools support the well-being for people of all ages, and build community through the joy and health water offers. That’s why for almost 20 years, we have supported the operations of the Wagner Memorial Pool in Twisp. Since its inception, the valley has grown and changed and water sports have grown in popularity. Therefore, replacing this 57-year-old pool calls for a new vision, founded on public input and guided by modern building techniques.
To begin, in 2019, we hired pool consultants to conduct a condition assessment, which determined replacing the aging Wagner pool was more appropriate than repairing it, and further suggested we assess what type of pool would be best for our community.
We conducted a survey first, then held small focus groups in 2020, hosted community outreach booths, and followed up with another survey in 2021. Thanks to a generous donation from the Philadelphia Foundation, we were able to conduct a more in depth feasibility study led by Ballard*King and Associates, a recreation consulting firm.
The study’s purpose was to gather more public input, scope a project and understand the necessary building and operational costs associated with a new pool. We held public community meetings in 2021 and 2022 to further understand what type of pool our community would like. Throughout this process, the Methow Valley has voiced an overwhelming desire for a year-round pool. We are working to make that vision into a plan.
To help keep the momentum and coordinate this undertaking, we are hiring an executive director, thanks to the community’s support during Give Methow. This will be our first part-time staff person, who will help our Board of Directors make a new pool a reality. If you’re interested in being a part of this exciting project and enriching the lives of our community, please see our website for more information. https://www.foptwisp.org/we-are-hiring.
We are spending a considerable amount of time researching and evaluating potential sources of funding to operate a new pool including private donations, state grants and other allocations. Most pools do not meet their costs with the passes they sell, and rely on public subsidies or private revenue through endowments to operate.
The Wagner pool has relied on three sources to supplement operations: the Wagner Fund, Friends of the Pool, and the Town of Twisp. To address the operational demands of a new, valley-wide facility, we have organized a subcommittee of community members to learn about the formation of a recreation district and how this option may serve a future pool. Please contact us if you would like to help us with this important research by being on this subcommittee.
We hope you’ll join us virtually, or in-person, to hear the culmination of the feasibility study and the consultant’s recommendations on Wednesday (Jan. 18), at 7 p.m. at the Winthrop library conference room. This basic conceptual design starts the process for our new future pool, but is not the final design. We have a long road ahead and will continue to value the input of our community in the process. To join us virtually please use the link on our website: www.foptwisp.org/events-upcoming.
We are building a pool so that everyone in our community has access to a safe place to swim and enjoy the water year-round. Pools are unique community gathering places that bring people of all walks of life together around play and well-being. They also help grow children’s independence and responsibility and offer lifelong fitness. We believe it shouldn’t be a luxury to have a pool, rather, it’s a lifesaver and necessary element in any vibrant community.
Please join us in our effort. We can do it. The Methow Valley is worth it!
Friends of the Pool board of directors: Sarah Schrock, Blue Bradley, Bo Thrasher, Jen Ramsay, Justin Porter, Suzanne Perin, Kevin Kolman, Aaron Nauman, Susan Megaard.