This week, the King County Council approved the first of three rounds of Aquatic Facilities Grants, including a $1.8 million grant to fund critical renovations at the Juanita High School pool and two $100,000 grants for North King County aquatic center studies.
The competitive grant program is in part possible thanks to the “penny for pools” amendment in the voter-approved 2020-2025 Parks Levy, which was authored by King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski to help address the significant need for swimming pools countywide. The program seeks to assist public aquatic facilities through capital funding at any stage from feasibility studies through renovation and repair.
“In my time serving on the King County Council, one of the most frequent topics in my discussions with constituents is the urgent need for an aquatic center in North King County,” Dembowski said. “For that reason, I was proud to author the ‘penny for pools’ amendment in the King County Parks Levy. It is very exciting to see that amendment come to life with these historic investments in swimming pools and future aquatic facilities.”
One of the $100,000 grants is for a partnership with the cities of Kenmore, Shoreline and Lake Forest Park to find a site and determine appropriate features for a community aquatic center.
The other $100,000 grant is for a similar partnership between the cities of Kenmore and Kirkland. The four cities are coordinating to provide residents public indoor aquatic access year-round. Based on the growing populations in all four cities, there is believed to be demand and need to support one if not two new regional aquatic facilities.
“Kenmore is strongly committed to connecting our residents to aquatic activities,” said Kenmore Mayor Nigel Herbig. “We are excited to put these King County grants to work with our neighboring cities to study options for one or more aquatic centers to serve North King County residents.”
Built in 1971, the Juanita High School pool is shared by six high schools – Juanita High School, Inglemoor High School, Woodinville High School, Bothell High School, North Creek High School, and Lake Washington High School. The pool is also used by the WAVE Aquatics water polo program.
The $1.8 million grant will fund critical updates including outdated HVAC, pool equipment, and much-needed ADA upgrades at the Juanita High School pool.
“This generous grant enhances the district’s efforts to provide upgrades to the aging pool facility at Juanita High School, supporting the continued growth and success of aquatic programs throughout the region,” said Jon Holmen, Lake Washington School District Superintendent.
In August 2019, King County residents overwhelmingly supported the Parks Levy which provides funding support for parks and open space throughout the County.