Letters to the Editor

Northshore School District’s (NSD) three high school

LETTER

Public pools in Northshore —

a level of future uncertainty

Northshore School District’s (NSD) three high schools (Inglemoor, Bothell and Woodinville) boys and girls varsity swim teams practice and compete locally at the Ruiz-Costie/Northshore Pool in Bothell and Carole Ann Wald Memorial Pool (Inglemoor’s practice venue at St. Edward State Park).

The Ruiz-Costie Pool was built on NSD property under the King County Forward Trust levy bonds of the late 1960s, which are due to expire in 2011, at which time the pool building’s ownership will revert to the current property owner of record. For now, the cities of Bothell and Woodinville jointly fund the pool operations.

The Carole Ann Wald Memorial Pool was built circa 1969 for the St. Edward Catholic Seminary by a seminarian parent donor. As part of St. Edward State Park, the pool is now owned by Washington State Parks and operated with funding support of city of Kenmore, Evergreen Hospital and Bastyr University.

It should be noted that the Wald pool, however, does not meet current high-school specs for size and depth, thereby precluding its use as a league-competition venue.

Northwest Center has provided excellent management and programming of both Northshore pools since 2003. It also manages the public pools of Redmond and Mercer Island in a similar agreement.

The city of Bothell and the NSD have entered into a “memo of understanding” as the city of Bothell plans a significant downtown-revitalization possibly to include surplus NSD administrative property. These evolving circumstances place the Ruiz-Costie pool in a path of an uncertain future.

With the Bothell city core expected to change, and as the Northshore region is projected to grow in population, circumstances led to a need for an updated review of Northshore’s public pools’ status.

The Northshore Parks and Recreation Service Area (NPRSA) completed a 2008 update of a 2004 pools study and produced a report titled “Northshore Aquatics Needs Analysis and Location Study.”

The NPRSA is a special taxing district with boundaries the same as the NSD, located in the Seattle-Everett metropolitan area north and east of Lake Washington and encompassing the cities of Bothell, Kenmore and Woodinville. The NPRSA was formed in 1988 when the voters within the NSD voted to both form the NPRSA and authorize bonds with more than 60-percent voter approval.

PRSAs are authorized by the state of Washington (with the approval of voters residing within the proposed PRSA boundaries) for purposes of financing, acquiring, constructing, improving, maintaining or operating any park, senior-citizen activities centers, zoos, aquariums and recreational facilities as defined in RCW 36.69.010. (See RCW 36.68.400).

In 1988, the NPRSA was established to finance construction of a new senior center. This proposition to the voters followed an extensive study process that included:

• Amending the state enabling legislation for park-and-recreation service areas to include senior centers among the allowable purposes.

Currently, the local NPRSA partnership is evaluating if, how and at what levels to proceed with further public outreach and education, toward a future bond levy (2010?) for a new centrally located NPRSA aquatic center near Pop Keeney Field in Bothell.

For information, contact your NPRSA representatives (city/county council members).

William (Bill) Leak

Kenmore

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