Letters to the Editor: We don't need a new pool

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

To the Editor:

As a frequent user of the existing Shoreline Pool, I'm writing to ask my fellow citizens to vote NO on Proposition 1. We don't need a new facility.

Shoreline's existing pool was refurbished only three years ago and is plenty capable. The pool building needs a new roof, and if the old boiler is inefficient and tired, then we should replace the boiler instead of tearing down the whole structure. Renovations of this sort would cost a few million dollars at most, not the $100 million+ that the city is asking us to fork over at an average increase of $244 per household per year.

As to the claim that the pool is responsible for 92% of municipal carbon emissions, the Pro side has provided no evidence that a new facility would change that. Continuously heating over 75,000 gallons of water from ambient temperature to 84 degrees is energy-intensive and always will be. It makes sense to retrofit the building we have with efficient windows, insulation, and weatherstripping in order to reduce heat and humidity loss to the outside.

In truth, the ShARCC as proposed is a vanity project for the Shoreline City Council. The pool that we have is fine, but they want to relocate it to a new location by City Hall. Do you like having your car broken into while you're taking the kids to swim practice? It would be a lot more likely at 178th and Midvale than it is at 190th and 1st NE.

Less fortunate communities than ours would cherish a pool like the existing Shoreline Pool. A new facility would be an absolute extravagance, even for our area. Vote NO and tell the City Council to make smart improvements to our existing infrastructure.

Dan Adams


Shoreline needs real cops September 24, 2019 at 7:22 AM  

I totally agree. There is no need to burden homeowners, yet again, for this needless building. People forget what was done only 3 years ago. People want "new" at the expense of someone else. What we CAN and SHOULD do is REPAIR what needs fixing, not tear down and build something new. It only makes sense in this time of economic and environmental hardship to be more conservative and less expansive.

Unknown September 24, 2019 at 9:01 AM  

Disagree. Our high schools need a new pool to stay at the competitive level and the community would benefit by a recreation center. Ask Lynnwood and MTL. Their pool parties bring in a nice bit of revenue. It also provides working opportunities for the community. We need to think of the benefits to the community as a whole not just swimmers....

Anonymous,  September 24, 2019 at 11:24 AM  

I don't believe the Shoreline pool can be maintained indefinitely. The time to replace it is now before it breaks down beyond repair. The longer we wait to replace it, the more expensive it will become.

Anonymous,  September 24, 2019 at 12:20 PM  

Dear all - we could have a new pool, and refurbish the old pool, without a bond issue or raising taxes if we would embrace TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT CAMERAS. Before you get all up on me about privacy, consider that -red light cameras decrease the amount of fatalities and collisions. Consider also that running a light or other traffic infraction is totally VOLUNTARY. If you choose the voluntary action and get ticketed, you pay the fine. Take a look around while driving this week - we'd never have to pay taxes again!

Anonymous,  September 24, 2019 at 1:23 PM  

"Ask Lynnwood and MTL. Their pool parties bring in a nice bit of revenue"
This is such a false justification. If somebody else is paying for my car that I use to drive for Uber and I keep all the profits, somebody else is still paying for the car. If the revenue will be so great, they wouldn't need to raise our taxes to build it.

Anonymous,  September 24, 2019 at 4:13 PM  

Totally agree, this is an unnecessary expense at a time when our property taxes are increasing because of the perceived increase in value due to light rail. I also have little faith in the council actually delivering on the contents of this proposition - residents east of I-5 have already witnessed their ineptitude in losing us first a post-office and now an off-leash area.

Anonymous,  September 24, 2019 at 9:12 PM  

I think there are other issues involved. If I am not mistaken the City's access to the existing pool is going away as are the use of the gym and the Shoreline Senior Center. All are being evicted from the Shoreline School District owned property where the sit. This should not have been a surprise. The city has known this was coming for years.
The property they have selected is quite small and our population is going to grow exponentially in the near future, therefore the it will be critical to maximize what can be done with it. (I understand they could have opted to purchase more of it, but decided not to.)
Did you know the City currently suspends property taxes on numerous, big, multi-family developments as a means of encouraging developers? Well, I say the developers are here and they can start collecting taxes on new developments.
I agree that we need to have a centrally located, Community Center, that serves the tax paying public’s needs. The current Senior Center is too small, there is ongoing issue with access to free meeting rooms for local neighborhood and non-profit meetings. Did you know that Shoreline has the highest percentage of seniors in all of King County? And, of course, there needs to a gym and exercise spaces. We need more of these, not the same as the currently inadequate spaces.
What we don’t need is to have the City of Shoreline buy a pool to support the Shoreline School District’s desires. If they want extra lanes and 500 seats of viewing so they can stage swim meets which will close the pool to everyone else, I feel they should fund it. If you follow this link you will see a breakdown of how much of our taxes go the city and how much to the school district. This an old report from 2005/06, but I believe the percentages are roughly the same today. The city receives 11%, State Schools 17% and Shoreline Schools an additional 41%. So, the school district is very well funded.
Additionally, I see this as an equity issue. How much money does the school district spend on football/soccer fields and equipment? If they want a swim team it should be equitably funded. The school district has land for a pool. They could use the current site and build a new facility. Or they could renovate the existing one as you suggest.
WE have a pool at the YMCA. I have been led to believe the Y tried to work with the city to build a public pool and they were given the cold shoulder. That sure seems pretty short-sighted now. I know a number of Shoreline residents who use the Mountlake Terrace and/or Lynnwood pools. I think we should continue to use the Y and other local civic pools until we can afford one. There is no need for it to be a component of the Community Center. There is very small percentage of Shoreline residents who use the pool and they can certainly access a pool at a different site.
This is a long way of saying that I will be voting against Prop 1 because it is simply too expensive and will under-build what is needed to meet our Community Center needs while sinking tons of money in pool to accommodate the School District. Let them build their own!

That means something needs to be done. I agree that we need to create an inclusive community center that can be used by all ages including the seniors. Did you know that Shoreline the highest percentage of seniors in all King County cities? It seems reasonable to provide a gym space, more free meeting rooms and commercial kitchen that can be rented for big events.

On the other hand, I don't think the city can afford a pool right now. They continues to not collect property taxes on huge multi-family developments as a means to encourage development. Well, I'd say development is here and they can start collecting taxes!

herrbrahms September 25, 2019 at 12:08 AM  

Hi, I'm the author of the letter to the editor. I wanted to address the point about pool parties being a source of revenue.

Lynnwood Rec Center charges $900 per hour to rent the entire pool, or it can be split 6 ways at $150 each for shared rentals. There are 5 rental hours per week.

I doubt quite highly that Lynnwood's rental demand meets even half their capacity, but let's say that by some miracle they rent the pool in total 5 hours per week, 52 weeks per year, with no holidays or maintenance downtime for 20 years. This adds up to $4,680,000, or 4.5% of the bonded total of $103,000,000.

While of course this revenue would be a welcome offset to ongoing operating expenses, it would quite literally be pennies on the dollar compared to the capital cost of the new facility.

Anonymous,  September 25, 2019 at 3:21 PM  

If our current pool, that was completely refurbished only a few years ago is on School District property, I am sure the school district will keep this facility for any School District swim teams. We don't need a new pool.
And if we do need a new pool the city council should have thought about that before giving developers of these giant MUR BORG cubes 12 year tax breaks in exchange for building a few affordable units (which they could have demanded without giving away the farm.)

DKH September 25, 2019 at 11:24 PM  

The school district owns the land. The city owns the pool. - Editor

Anonymous,  September 26, 2019 at 2:28 AM  

And when the lease is up, is the city going to dismantle the pool? No. So then the school district will wind up owning the pool.

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