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Is the swimming pool on city's budget chopping block?

October 20, 2011

The Deer Park City Council has not ruled out closing the swimming pool as a way of saving money next year.
The facility, faced with dwindling public use, lost $70,000 last year. The city will have to install a handicapped lip at the pool next year.
Councilman Steve Hughes said it did not make much sense to operate the swimming pool, which was built more than 60 years ago, when it only attracts 30-35 children a day during the summer.
The city only received about $5,000 in usage fees last year.
Councilwoman Ella Harper entertained the idea of closing the pool and look for grants to build a water splash pad like the ones recently built by Spokane County.
Director of Community Services Roger Krieger noted that there are very few grants that the city could pursue to build a pool.
He said the “only pot of money” is from city taxpayers.
A citizens community group floated the idea of a community center with swimming pool more than a decade ago. The idea never got past the discussion stage.
Mayor Robert Whisman noted that some of the savings in closing the pool would not materialize.
The city earmarks $40,000 in wages. Those funds would only be disbursed to other city departments, he said.
Maintenance Supervisor Brian Ramsden would like to see the swimming pool remain open until a catastrophic event forces its permanent closure.

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