Yakima City Council Considers New Pool Feasibility
City council watchers will note an agenda item for next week's regular meeting that may be of interest to the more budget conscious.
Here it is: Authorizing a feasibility study agreement for an outdoor community swimming pool at Martin Luther King Jr. Park.
The idea of an Eastside pool arose the minute Yakima's election system was rearranged by the ACLU and a sympathetic judge. Ask the YMCA about that, though they have too much class to comment, they know that there was an overture to redirect city funds from the aquatic center to an Eastside pool.
You may recall pools were closed in the past to save money and the least used pool requiring the greatest subsidy at the time was an Eastside pool. However restoring an Eastside pool has for some reason, become a council priority, despite the city's current financial condition.
Assistant Mayor, Dulce Gutierrez, is on record saying projects like the Downtown Plaza project were too expensive and that the city "needed to live within its means."
Eastside councilman Jason White is on record as saying the city was broke and couldn't pay its bills. He was chastised and corrected by the Mayor for saying that, but the impression he sought to make was a city in financial trouble. Translation - Yakima can't afford a plaza but we should consider spending even more on an Eastside pool.
Both White and Gutierrez voted to spend money for the pool feasibility study at a time when the city was borrowing thousands from reserves. A pool will cost several million dollars to build and won't pay for operating itself, requiring hundreds of thousands in annual support....for a facility open just three months a year...serving a limited area population.
Is this the time or type of project the city needs to support at this time? Money for the North First Street project is in jeopardy from the car tab initiative, There are no city economic development enhancement ideas on the drawing table at this time that would boost city funds. How about an advisory vote?
Will the real economics drive the decision making on the feasibility of building an Eastside pool at this time? Let's all watch and see.