Yakima forging plans to build a new indoor pool

Yakima forging plans to build a new indoor pool »Play Video
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Yakima might get a new swimming pool. The City Council will consider plans to build a state-of-the-art indoor facility.

A new pool could cost Yakima up to $8 million. City planning documents propose to pay for it with a bond that could be issued in 2016.

The city manager told KIMA that Yakima is underserved when it comes to aquatics, and that any new facility would be designed primarily with seniors in mind.

David Whitmore is a champion swimmer and diver at Naches Valley High School. He's gone to state all four years. But, getting there hasn't been easy.

"I have a love-hate relationship with this pool," he said. "It's the only place I can practice."

That only place is Lions Pool. The air there is thick.

"There are a lot of practices that me and the rest of the kids were getting out of the pool and running over to the doors to get some fresh air because we just couldn't breathe."

Bad ventilation is only one of the problems plaguing the 50-year-old pool. But, it's the only one open all year round. City leaders want to change that.

"We'd like the council to consider an investment in a new facility," said Yakima City Manager Tony O'Rourke. "It's either that or pouring millions into existing facilities, which are pretty dated."

A new indoor facility that would include a lap pool, therapy pool and lazy river could cost the city between $6 million and $8 million. It would take a $13 million bond to pay for it.

The money would also be used for improvements to North 1st Street and the downtown plaza - but no new taxes or fees.

Joe Lewis is concerned about the price of admission.

"If they can keep the cost in line for the seniors and special needs, yeah, I would go for it," he said.

Possible locations include Fisher Park Golf Course; North 16th Avenue near the Yakima Cinema, where there's land for sale; two locations along Nob Hill Boulevard, including the spot of the old drive-in; and the current Lions Pool location. But, the city manager says that tract is probably too small.

About nine to ten acres of land is needed for this project. Yakima is exploring private partnerships to add more attractions. City Council would have to authorize the bond. If passed, construction could be done as early as 2018.