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SWIMMING POOL CLOSURE

ZILLAH SWIMMING POOL
As you may know by now, the city recently made the tough decision to close the swimming pool.  The pool was constructed back in the 1930’s so it is over 80 years old.  The hole was dug by local farmers and constructed with community volunteerism and support.  The city has made it a high priority to keep the pool open over the years through careful maintenance and a lot of TLC.  The Mayor and Council have been willing to keep it open in spite of it being a revenue loser over the years.  They have chosen to keep the historical $1 entry fee and have also sought sponsorships for “Free Friday Swim” the past few years.  With that being said, a person could swim in our “humble” pool, five days per week for $4.  The city lost an average of $15,000 per year but considered it a priority and an investment in the children of our community.


This year, city staff spent quite a bit of time looking for lifeguards.  We went through our normal application process but no one applied.  We’ve struggled a bit the past few years finding lifeguards because most of them want to work at a nicer pool like the one Toppenish or other cities have.   We have been able to share lifeguards with them in the past but they have also struggled this year finding enough to fill their openings.  This year, we had no returning lifeguards and no applicants so we called everyone we could to find some so that the pool could open on time.  We did go ahead and fill the pool in anticipation of opening (somehow) but the next day discovered that there was a very large leak and the pool had lost over a foot of water overnight.  In prior years, we were able fill some of the minor cracks/leaks as needed but this year the cracks in the deck and in the pool were too significant and the city couldn’t take the risk of it being unsafe.  At that point we took a tour of the pool and made the hard decision to recommend closure. 


MOVING FORWARD
The Mayor and Council want you to know that they will be exploring options.  One option might be to put in a spray park at some point in the future.  A community group presented some information to council a few years ago and they will be revisiting that idea as well as others. 

SKATE PARK PROPOSAL
Unrelated to the pool, City Council was visited by some young people at their last meeting that came to present the idea of a Skate Park in Zillah.  They provided some thoughtful input and Mayor Clark asked them to come back with a proposal.  Some of the issues that came up during discussion was the stigma related to skateboarders.  Officer Gay, who works as the School Resource Officer (SRO) and has a lot of contact with the kids, explained that most of the youth involved in this effort, are good kids with good grades.  They are looking for a sport other than the conventional sports offered by the school.  They were prohibited from using most areas around town and have turned to skating on the public roadway.  This presents a hazard to both them and the general public.  One of the biggest challenges to the youth is that there is no place for them to skateboard.  The group recently set up a private facebook account to get the information out.  They also opened a “go fund me” account in order to collect donations.   Mayor Clark and City Council was generally supportive of the idea and stated they would be willing to review a proposal from the group.  Partnership is always an option.  For more information on how to participate, go to https://www.facebook.com/Zillah-Skate-Park-Project and https://www.gofundme.com/zillahskatepark