Kenmore City Council dives in to Wald Pool study
May 31, 2010 · 6:37 PM
With one member absent, Kenmore City Council voted unanimously to spend up to $25,000 for an engineering study of the closed Carole Ann Wald Pool in St. Edward State Park.
Council also approved an additional $4,700 for a similar study on the gymnasium in the St. Edward seminary building.
Mayor David Baker said Kenmore City Hall staff has already identified an engineering contractor. Council authorized the search for such a contractor in April, though it did not formally fund any study until its May 24 meeting.
Baker added he expects the contractor to be in front of council with an initial analysis of the pool later this month. The contractor will then come back in another three weeks with an estimate of what it might cost to repair the facility, if any repairs proved needed.
The pool has been closed since Dec. 3 when the second private operator in less than a year pulled out of its contract to run the facility because of financial concerns. The contract included operating the seminary gym.
Despite any financial problems connected with the operation, the pool has some dedicated and vocal public supporters, including the members of the Friends of St. Edward Park.
In March, during a crowded public meeting on the pool called by Kenmore officials, state recreation leaders suggested they needed a physical assessment of the pool building before trying to find a new operator. Representing the state parks and recreation commission, Tom Oliva said officials want a better understanding of the condition of the pool.
Oliva said the pool’s most recent operator, Mill Creek’s West Coast Aquatics, reported financial losses of $90,000 over the eight months the group was involved with the pool.
In 2009, previous operator Northwest Centers of Seattle reported losses of $50,000 a year.
“We need to have a facility assessment,” Oliva said. “Let’s find out what’s going on here.”
But while Oliva backed a study, he also quickly added the state was not in a position to pay for any work. That’s when the city stepped in, volunteering to use dollars that were earmarked for donation to the pool prior to the closure. According to Baker, state park officials are cooperating with the study now under way.
“There have been no roadblocks from the state,” Baker. “They are pleased that we are doing this.”
Baker credited State Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Shoreline, with helping set up meetings between the various parties involved.
While Baker said he backed the engineering study, he also emphasized the city is not ready to take on operation of the pool itself. Among other issues, he noted the pool is owned by the state, not Kenmore.
As the future of the pool continues to be debated, St. Edward Park Ranger Mohammad Mostafavinassab has said the pool is being minimally maintained to avoid problems with stagnant water and to cut any start-up costs that might be incurred by a new operator.