By Blue Bradley
I’ve been on the Friends of the Pool board since 2018 and I want to keep a pool in the Methow Valley. It is a complicated issue to build a pool, and we have learned a lot over the years. I wanted to share a few things:
• We do not have a final design nor a final cost for the future pool. We did a feasibility study to figure out what the community wants and came up with some preliminary plans to figure out some numbers to start working with. This is not the final design. If the Methow Aquatics District forms in November, then the commissioners running that would decide on the final design, most likely with a citizen advisory panel’s help.
• We hope to form the Methow Aquatics District to ensure operational funding for the next 50 years for a future pool. It would be irresponsible to build a pool without a plan for the future. We have a team of local volunteers meeting weekly as a “Rec District Taskforce” under Friends of the Pool, who have been working hard to figure this out. Proposition 1 will be on the November ballot if we get enough signatures by Aug. 1, and is specifically for the formation of the Methow Aquatics District.
The Methow Aquatics District would be the school district boundaries and only support the future Methow Aquatic Center (MAC) facility. It is not for recreational trails in the valley, not for any other facility or recreation maintenance in the valley at this time (the commissioners could possibly change that in the future with a new ballot measure to the voters), nor will it take anyone’s property away by eminent domain. We will legally purchase property for this pool and have a couple options we are considering.
• We are community members just trying to find the most equitable way to support a pool here long term. We don’t want our property taxes to increase either, so we will try to keep them as low as possible. The tax is not known yet, as we don’t know the exact costs of the pool yet. The Methow Aquatics District would be a type of Metropolitan Park District (MPD) under the RCW laws. That type of rec district is beneficial for many reasons including you don’t have to return to the voters every two years like the other types of Washington rec districts. This ballot measure would simply create it and allow the commissioners to set a property tax up to the maximum of 75 cents per $1,000 of property value for the pool, but hopefully the full amount would not be needed. The Methow Aquatics District would own and run the MAC, and decide the final tax amount.
• We need to prove that the community supports the effort to build a new pool and that it is a public facility in order to qualify for state and federal grant funding for site acquisition (buying land) and building it. By voting to form the Methow Aquatics District, it shows community support and creates the public infrastructure to show it is not a private entity. It’s the next critical step in this process.
• The current pool is failing and too old to maintain for much longer. Ask anyone who works there. The longer we wait, the more likely we will have no pool for kids to learn to swim, and adults and elders to move their bodies. We are doing our best to keep this project moving forward so we don’t have a summer without a pool. A pool is not a luxury, it’s a lifesaver.
We want a new pool for all ages, all year, into the future. We are an all-volunteer board, who also live here, and are doing our best to determine the best pathway forward for our community to achieve this goal. We would love your help. Please email your questions, or let us know if you want to join our effort, at email@example.com. And please, support Proposition 1 to create the Methow Aquatics District by signing the petition to get it on the ballot in November.
Blue Bradley has been a full-time valley resident since 1995, and is the mother of a Killer Whale swimmer, a swimmer, and a volunteer Friends of the Pool Board member.