The paint smell from Park Road Pool’s bright white walls still hangs in the air.
Old fashioned turnstiles have been removed, clearing the pathway to the counter. Wooden slats above the changing rooms have been replaced with walls that provide more privacy.
In contrast, a line snakes out the door at Valley Mission Pool as people wait for others to spin through turnstiles. The walls are a faded greenish color. Peeking over the changing room wall would not be too tough for a mischievous child.
Park Road Pool is the first of four in Spokane County to receive $60,000 worth of remodeling, most of it done to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Park Road Pool received a community development block grant, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Work at Park Road began in May and was completed last week.
Park Road received the grant partially because the area serves a low-income population, said Christine Barada, Spokane County’s director of community development and community services.
“In this case, low to moderate income benefit is an absolute requirement,” Barada said of the grant.
At Park Road, workers converted an outside bathroom on one side and a shower stall on the other into handicap accessible bathrooms in the changing rooms. Lower nozzles also were added to make it easier for handicapped people to shower.
Two girls in wheelchairs attend the park regularly during the summer, said Park Road manager Denise Canfield.
“We didn’t have a big demand for it,” Canfield said of the changes. “But it’s kind of nice that it’s there when they need it.”
Hanging fluorescent lights were replaced with enclosed ceiling fixtures. Bars on the diving board were extended almost to the end.
“It’s a safer facility for everybody,” said Wyn Birkenthal, parks and recreation manager of the County Parks Department.
The Parks Department also purchased a device to lower disabled people into the pool. A swing-like seat hangs from a metal pole that descends into the water.
About $60,000 has been secured for the same work to begin at Holmberg Pool on the North Side in the fall. Parks Department officials also are applying for grants to improve Valley Mission and Terrace View pools.
But, said Birkenthal, “It may be a period of years before Valley Mission and Terrace View are made handicap accessible.”
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