Op-ed: The importance and sound reasoning of a new Community Center and Pool

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Shari Winstead, former
Mayor of Shoreline
Shari Winstead is a former Shoreline Mayor

When I was first elected to the City Council, one of my priorities was to make Shoreline a healthy city for our citizens. A key element of that goal was improving our parks. Parks and public spaces are used by everyone, from toddlers using swings to seniors and others staying active by walking the trails.  A robust park system also increases our desirability as a community.

I am proud that the current Council has put Proposition 1 on the ballot. In 2006, we were not able to make improvements to the four parks who will benefit from Prop 1 (Brugger’s Bog, Briarcrest, Hillwood and Richmond Highlands). Improvements to these parks are desperately needed. The play area at Brugger’s Bog was underwater for good portions of the year. And across the City, we do not have a fully-accessible playground for all ages and abilities. The improvements to Richmond Highlands will make sure that our park facilities are accessible to all.

As Mayor, I supported investing $750,000 to keep the current pool open for five to seven years. It was a tough decision, and we found out later that it was difficult to find parts that worked with the existing system. We knew costs would continue to rise just to keep the pool running. As a Council, we recognized that it was not financially responsible to keep spending your tax dollars on a pool that is increasingly expensive to run, and where parts were sometimes difficult (if not impossible) to find.

I know that the residents who served on the Parks Board and the Parks and Recreation Funding Committee carefully considered all of the options before recommending a ballot measure. I know that my colleagues on the Council carefully considered all of the costs before placing Proposition 1 before the voters.

The current site of the pool is not ideal for a new community and aquatics center. The current pool is over a quarter-mile from the nearest transit stop.  Replacing the facility at the current location would put parking on the far side of the soccer fields, making it harder for seniors and parents with infants to access the facility. And, if the center were to be built on the existing site, the tennis courts would have to be moved to different park.

The proposed location for the Aquatic and Community Center is in center of the city, and right along a frequent transit line, making it more accessible to all. The Shoreline School District is contributing to the costs of the pool and there is money available from King County that should help offset building costs. The state is also being asked to pitch in for funding.

I’m also excited about the Aquatics and Community Center because it will meet the needs of our growing population. The configuration of the current pool makes it impossible for individuals to participate in swim team practices and for staff to conduct swim lessons at the same time. With two new pools, the City will have more capacity to offer swim lessons and allow more students the opportunity to be on the swim team.

Please join me, the Shoreline Education Association (your teachers), the Shoreline PTA Council, and many of your friends and neighbors in voting for Proposition 1.

Shari Winstead

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