Tri-Citians Speak Out about Proposed Aquatics Center - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Citians Speak Out about Proposed Aquatics Center

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RICHLAND, Wash.-- The long-talked about debate over a regional aquatics center should finally come to a resolution next month. Tri-City voters will decide whether to add a tenth of a cent to the local sales tax to pay for the new facility.

People certainly have a lot to say about the aquatics center proposal and the sales tax increase that would pay for it all.

At an informational meeting in Richland Wednesday, voters found out details to make an informed vote.

A regional aquatics center only exists in plans and open land right now, but on August 6th, its place on the ballot could make it a reality.  

"Half of it indoors, open year round, could attract local swim meets, it could be exercise, senior citizens use it year round. We could do swim lessons on a regional basis for all cities. Then in the summer time of course you'd have to outdoor facilities as well," said Don Britain, Regional PFD board.

The $35 million center would be covered by an annual $3 million in tax revenue and $3 million from ticket sales and concessions.

Britain says the facility will have an operating loss of about $400,000 every year, but that should be covered by the sales tax.

We asked several people in the community if they would support a regional aquatics center.

"I'm not going to use it. Okay, I don't swim, but I'd just like to see it in the community. I have grand kids here and I'd like them to have a chance," said Ginger Vetrano.

"The real concern of course is once you've paid for this, how's the operating cost going to work out. Looks to me like they have considered that," said Ralph Curran.

We also asked for your thoughts on our Facebook page.

"No more new taxes! Get the cities out of running it, they can barely run themselves and that's with huge amounts of federal money," said Mathew Lighthall.

"I personally agree that this would be a great thing for the community, but raising taxes to pay for it when the cities are already in a budget crunch is unacceptable," said James Wheeler Walters.