Kyle Jensen / The Record — Members from South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation sit it on the monthly parks district commissioner meeting.

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Members from South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation sit it on the monthly parks district commissioner meeting.

South Whidbey group looking at building public pool

Serious efforts to bring a public pool to South Whidbey appear to be back.

After a shakeup in leadership on the South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation board last year, the non-profit organization is beginning to make the initial steps — once again — toward its eventual goal of constructing a swimming pool.

To set the process in motion, board members increased collaborative efforts with South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District to work together on grant applications and raise community interest.

“We are all motivated and focused on bringing a public swimming pool to the South End,” South Whidbey Parks and Aquatics Foundation board president Andrea Newton said. “That’s our goal, but we’re open to other suggestions of how we can meet the community’s needs.”

The process toward the proposed pool is in the early stages. Discussions between the district and the nonprofit have primarily focused on how the two entities can revitalize community interest.

A controversial $15.2 million plan proposed by the parks district in 2008 died with 62 percent of voters against the project; just 37 percent voted for the pool. It was widely criticized as too expensive.

Efforts renewed in 2013 but they failed to come to fruition.

Given the past ballot failure, the district and nonprofit discussed the grant application process as a way to raise the necessary funds as an alternative to a tax hike. District commissioner Matt Simms provided tips on how to tackle the application process to improve the foundation’s chances of scoring money from the state.

“If you’re shovel-ready, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting grant money,” Simms said. “It’s written on a napkin at the moment; we have a lot to do to get to the state grant process.”

According to both Newton and park Director Doug Coutts, efforts to bring a pool to South Whidbey never disappeared, but there is “renewed interest” from the foundation’s new board members. The organization’s long-time president, Krista Loercher, left in early 2016, and her replacement followed suit the same summer. New leadership breathed new life into the effort.

“We hope to jointly work on some grant efforts in preparation for obtaining some large publicly available grants,” Newton said. “Doug has been very supportive to the board in this time of transition, and collaboration between us will lead to coordinated efforts and hopefully a swimming pool in the future.”

More in News

Lt. j.g. William McIlvaine, left, celebrates after graduating from flight school. He was killed in a training accident in March 2013. His uncle, Phelps McIlvaine, donated a monument to Oak Harbor in honor of all service members who died while serving in Prowler squadrons. Photo courtesy Phelps McIlvaine
Prowler aircraft monument still in works years later

The Oak Harbor Park Board learned the donated monument will probably be installed this year.

Woman sues Uber over injury suffered in 2018

The woman is suing the car-for-hire company over an injury that occurred in Oak Harbor in 2018.

Legislature opens with call for cooperation on COVID-19 relief

The state legislature launched its virtual session this week.

Low-cost crab pots available at fundraiser Jan. 17

The Deception Pass Sail and Power Squadron is offering crab pots with… Continue reading

Oak Harbor council decides on marina environmental restoration plan

The boat ramp will be getting a makeover, but no pocket beach is planned for Catalina Park.

The Tokitae ferry pulls into the new Mukilteo ferry terminal Thursday afternoon. Photo by Kira Erickson/Whidbey News Group
State ferries ridership reaches a 50-year low

Total ridership in 2020 was about 14 million, or 41 percent, less than the 10 million in 2019.

A tree on Highway 20 on the north side of the Deception Pass bridge held up traffic until it could be cleared early on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Photo by China Hageman
Windstorm wreaks havoc across island

Power was knocked out to thousands of customers in the first big storm of the year.

State health officer temporarily helping county

Dr. Lindquist has been serving on an emergency basis since Dec. 31 and will continue until Jan. 20.

Firefighter Jeff Rhodes (left), Firefighter Keith Dawson (center, back), Acting Lieutenant Alex Majestic (right) practice a CPR response without the LUCAS 3 Chest Compression System the agency wants to buy. Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
District turns to crowdfunding for CPR tool

Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue is looking to raise $18,580 to buy a CPR tool.

Most Read