City Pool Party
posted by September 14 at 17:33 PMon
Christine Larsen, a Capitol Hill resident and mother of 3, says she’s tired of ferrying her kids to outdoor pools in West Seattle and Magnolia during the summer months. Earlier this year, Larsen founded Project Splash—a “group of neighbors who are tired of driving across town”—to lobby the city for an outdoor pool east of I-5.
Seattle already has 3 indoor pools east of I-5—Meadowbrook, Medgar Evers, and Rainier Beach—but Larsen says while indoor pools are “great for laps and senior aerobics,” a new outdoor pool would act as a community gathering place.
Outdoor pools might seem like an unwise investment for a city that has miserable weather 9 months a year. However, according to Seattle Park’s Aquatics Director, Kathy Whitman, Magnolia’s Pop Mounger pays for itself.
Mounger gets more than 80,000 visitors between May and September, which pays for almost all of the pool’s $400,000 annual budget. By contrast, an indoor pool costs about $600,000 to operate year round, about $300,000 of that is subsidized.
With Seattle’s Parks Department already strapped for cash, and with no new levies on the horizon, I asked Larsen where she expects to get the money to fund such a major project. Larsen says she’s looking for private contributions or county and state funds. According to Parks’ Whitman, Pop Mounger pool was financed through community contributions. “There was no Parks Department money that went into it,” Whitman says. Larsen estimates a new pool would cost between 5 and 8 million dollars.No site has been identified for the pool.
Project Splash will be holding a meeting at the Miller Community Center on October 15th at 7pm and at Meadowbrook Community Center on October 23rd at 7:15.