Letter to the Editor: Prop 1 - what every voter should know

Friday, October 25, 2019

To the Editor:

I have served on our Parks, Recreation, Cultural Services, and Tree board for the past five years, and also recently volunteered to serve on the Parks Funding Advisory Committee.

We evaluated options for a pool and community center, along with needed improvements at our parks.

These needs were identified by our citizens through surveys, public outreach, and Open House presentations.

Our challenge was to find the best balance between the needs of our community, and the associated costs borne by all of us, guided by the following:
  • Our Pool is far beyond its lifespan and recent critical repairs may only last three more years before failure.
  • Although the City owns and operates the Pool, it is built on property owned and controlled by our School District. Any new construction at the same location would be performed with uncertainty about the future availability of the property.
  • Spartan Recreation Center is also housed in buildings and on property owned and controlled by the District.
  • Many parks across our city need improvements to serve our growing community.
The City hosted several Open House Presentations requesting public input, and some of the highlights were:
  • The Senior Center is also located in a building and on land owned by others, and seniors noted it is uncertain how long they may be able to occupy their current space.
  • The Swimming Community requested the competition pool be enlarged to eight swim lanes in order to support the Shoreline School swim teams.
  • Other groups that were not as vocal, but every bit as important, included the children who rely on a pool for recreation and swim lessons, the kids who enjoy taking dance classes, and our teens who enjoy playing basketball at the Spartan Gym, to name only a few.
We know the existing pool will soon fail, and it is uncertain how long our other facilities will remain available.

The question we need to ask ourselves is, should we provide a pool and community recreation center for our city, or should we no longer provide those facilities at all.

These resources are an important part of any vibrant city and serve a wide and diverse cross-section of our population.  I hope you will join me in supporting this important proposal for our community.

Bill Franklin
Parks, Recreation, Cultural Services, and Tree Board


karen October 26, 2019 at 10:53 AM  

It is not a choice of accepting the proposal or having none. Reevaluation of the proposal, splitting off the parks portion for a separate vote. That is also an option. The pool portion is overpriced. Looks like we are going for the really high priced option.

Jeff October 27, 2019 at 4:12 AM  

Some counter-points:

- The City had a survey performed in 2014 (and updated in 2015) to ascertain what repairs and retrofits would be required to keep the current pool running for 20 years (through 2035.). The estimated cost for those repairs and retrofits in 2015 was $3.1 million dollars. Yes, that's real money, but it's peanuts compared to the estimated $88 million estimated cost of the proposed new pool and rec center.

- The City was offered a 50-year lease (by the School District) to build a new pool on the site of the current pool by the School District. (Note that our current pool, claimed above to be "far beyond its lifespan", was built in 1971, and is therefore now slightly less than 50 years old. It seems that a 50-year lease would provide sufficient certainty about future availability to warrant consideration.)

- Our parks could use improvements. But please note that the $18 million in prop 1 which is penciled-in for parks is slated for specific improvements in just four of the city's many parks. Please research those projects before deciding on whether you think this is a worthwhile plan for those monies.

(Also note that prop 1 provides no guarantee regarding the amount of money that will actually go to parks. That "money for parks" can be used to cover any cost overruns associated with the building of the new pool/rec center.)

- While the proposed new pool and rec center does provide some new features such as an indoor track and shallow children's pool, it doesn't appear to provide a significant increase in capacity over the current Spartan rec center, and senior center that it is to replace. This seems shortsighted in light of the expected population growth as Shoreline's new rezones are built up.

There are other alternatives. Other cities have put in pools for a fraction of the cost of the proposed prop 1. Voting "no" on prop 1 does not mean that the City will abandon its pool or its parks, it it's send the message that more cost-effective options should be considered.

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