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Future swimming pools to be discussed

Spokane residents can have a say in the future of Spokane city swimming by attending one of two meetings next week.

The city Parks and Recreation Department is writing a master plan for aquatic facilities, including the possibility of a new-style water park.

All of the city’s pools are aging and need repair. The Shadle Park indoor and outdoor pools are being closed. Wading pools throughout the city already have been removed.

Officials are expected to ask voters to approve a property tax measure to pay for new or improved swimming facilities, and they hope to have a master plan written by the end of 2007, too late to take a measure to voters this year.

City Councilman Brad Stark said it is unlikely that voters would be asked to consider a swimming pool bond issue this fall.

Next week’s meetings will be on Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St., and Tuesday, same hours, at East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St.

Additional meetings are yet to be scheduled.

Development of the master plan follows a December 2005 recommendation from an Aquatics Citizens Advisory Committee to build an indoor aquatics center adjacent to Albi Stadium, replace Comstock Pool, refurbish other pools and add spray features at parks.

Comstock residents protested any thought of closing that pool, and Albi is a controversial location for a citywide aquatics center, which would likely charge admission fees for all users, including children, who for years have been able to swim free during Spokane summers.

Councilman Al French and neighborhood leaders in northeast Spokane are supporting a separate community center with as many as four swimming pools at Franklin Park, but the idea is not moving ahead.

The Park Board hired consultants Counsilman-Hunsaker, based in Los Angeles, and ALSC Architects of Spokane to help develop the master plan.