May 26, 2007 in Voices

Big splash planned at pools

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A public workshop on proposed pool upgrades will be held 6 p.m., Thursday, at CenterPlace community center, 2426 N. Discovery Place.

More lounging, innertube floating, and water-slide riding will be in order at Spokane Valley pools next summer if recently proposed renovation plans are approved.

Using $1.6 million originally set aside by Spokane County, the city plans to add deck space and new amenities to all three pools.

After public workshops on how best to spend that money, Spokane Valley Parks Director Mike Jackson said swimmers “wanted to maintain the lap-swim, swim-lesson, swim-team component of the pools.”

Preliminary drawings by ORB Architects of Renton call for a new lazy river, water slide and a so-called zero depth pool with a sloping entry that resembles the beach, though none of the new amenities plans would change the shape of the existing pools.

Citing neighbors’ concerns with the increased noise that might be associated with the other options, Jackson said the lazy river would be installed at Terrace View pool. The water slide makes sense at the Park Road pool’s more isolated location, he said, and a zero-depth pool at Valley Mission pool could fit in well with swim lessons for younger kids.

In addition to the new water features, all pools would be able to accommodate about twice the number of people at any given time.

“All of the pools will have some expanded patio area and umbrellas and lounge chairs,” Jackson said.

The on-land additions could make the pools a more inviting place for families to hang out and let more people enjoy them at once.

“A number of times we’ve had to turn people away” because of the pools’ current capacities, he said.

The pool plans will be outlined at a public meeting where residents can comment on the proposed amenities before final designs are drafted and the city hires a contractor to start the work this fall.

Changes are afoot at Splash Down Water Park in Valley Mission Park as well.

Engineering for a new 40-to-45-foot drop slide will begin this fall, said owner Geoff Kellogg.

If all goes as planned, crews will break ground on the new slide and an expanded children’s area this summer, he said.

For this season the kiddie slides have been resurfaced, and new water-squirting toys will be available to visitors.

Kellogg, who leases Splash Down from the city, has kept a close eye on the pool upgrades and asked Spokane Valley not to directly compete with Splash Down by adding slides or similar amenities to Valley Mission pool .

“It’s right in front of us,” he said.

Jackson said the pools’ designers have been mindful of Splash Down and that a zero-depth pool at Valley Mission would be unlikely to have a large impact on the water slide park.

Splashdown is scheduled to open today, if the weather cooperates.

City pools will open June 16, according the aquatics page of www.spokanevalley.org.


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