Opinion

Better pool options exist

Together, we are a community. We are stewards of this beautiful Valley. What we do with our limited time and limited space will be measured for years.

Sometimes we feel divided by the many taxing jurisdictions in this Valley. However, the public tribute that each of us commits in our housing payment, sales taxes, federal income taxes, employment taxes and taxes built into the products we buy is still our money. We should still be looking for the best value with the money that we have committed.

The Snoqualmie City Council has decided to distinguish its jurisdiction from the other taxing districts in the Valley by building a community center with a gym and pool. The timing for this quick decision is important for the city because there are some big school district levies proposed for the ballot in February. I feel that it might seem too greedy if the city pool was on the ballot the same time as the school levies, and certainly would be less likely to pass.

One of the proposed sites for a community center with a gym and pool is very close to a private gym facility, which is being built right now on Snoqualmie Ridge.

I suppose that it would be very difficult for a business owner to compete against a public facility that can operate at a loss for many years (a loss funded by taxpayer dollars).

Surveys have been collected by the city and some analysts have been contacted to form the basis for the financials in these proposed levies.

Still, there is reasonable debate about actual expenses. Seattle's monorail project started out this way and in the end, nothing was built because the financials were not right and there wasn't consensus on where and what to build.

Better solutions have been proposed and presented to the Snoqualmie City Council and the new mayor. One option is to form an interlocal agreement to build a regional facility and use a broader Valleywide tax base.

I would like to see bolder leadership. I would like to see something even more constructive, creative and useful. Using our whole Valley as a perspective, we already have a small pool; we have rivers and lakes; and we have small gyms. We don't have good commuting options; we don't have very many meeting place options; we don't have a modern pool facility to train lifeguards and youth interested in competitive swimming; and we don't have a lot of space to work with.

North Bend can enter the discussion to consider moving a park-and-ride facility next to a regional pool facility funded in part by the Si View Metropolitan Park District. The school district might be able to contribute a part of its budget for athletics. The county can modify bus routes to provide express service to and from a key commuting hub - a hub like Exit 25, which many of us pass each day.

My recommendation is to reject the Snoqualmie community center levies.

However, keep the debate open and challenge each of our taxing districts to pool money, conserve resources and demonstrate brilliance and creativity.

David Willson

North Bend

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