Swim teams worry the only public indoor in the Valley may closePosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash- Summer is over, and most people aren't thinking about going swimming. But there are some in Yakima who need a pool, rain or shine. However there's only one public indoor pool in the Yakima Valley and people from Naches to Granger rely on it. As the city council sits down to make some tough budget decisions, many are concerned they'll lose that facility.
About 300 people a day use Lions Pool for everything from lessons to therapy. But some of the people who rely most on the pool are high school swim teams.
"We can't afford to lose the pool. There would be no swim teams", says Leslie Brown, Coach for the Selah Dolphins Swim team.
Lions has to schedule practices as late as 9pm to be able to accommodate schools from Selah all the way down to Granger. At Tuesday night's city council meeting the Selah and Naches Valley swim and dive teams joined others in the community asking the city council not to close the pool.
"I'd even see if my parents would move", says David Whitmore a member of the swim and dive team at Naches Valley High School.
The council says keeping police and firefighters is most important to Yakima. There is not currently a specific proposal to close city pools, but as they struggle to deal with their one-million dollar budget shortfall everything is at risk although nothing has been decided.
"I know they have a huge job ahead of them with public safety being a huge priority, but I think a lot of people believe very strongly in parks and recreation and what it provides to our kids", says Traci Bennett, recreation supervisor for Yakima.
Lions is also the only pool in the entire Valley public or private with a high dive.
"So if Lions pool is closed, that cuts out the opportunity for diving for everyone", says Whitmore.
"High school swim team would look a lot different in the Valley if Lions were not available to them", agrees Bennett.
Nothing with the budget is set in stone at this point. The city manager will present a preliminary budget on November first with a better idea of what will be cut and saved. Until then, pool users will be holding their breath.