Local news

Two more public pools open next week

Two more of Spokane’s six public swimming pools are scheduled to open Wednesday, giving kids 15 days to splash and dunk their friends before the school year starts.

City officials gathered Friday to celebrate the opening of the Hillyard Pool, 5718 N. Haven St., and Comstock Pool, 800 W. 29th Ave. Construction is not yet complete on the Witter Pool, at 1400 E. Mission Ave., and the Liberty Pool, 1300 E. Fifth Ave., said Carl Strong, a recreation supervisor for the city.

“We’ve had overwhelming positive input and comments and feedback even with our decision to charge kids this year,” Strong said.

For most of the history of city pools, swimming has been free. But the Spokane Park Board upped the price to $1 this year. The city passed a bond in 2007 to rebuild all five city pools and build a sixth. This past winter’s record snowfall caused delays in some of the work, Strong said. But he is still hoping that the Liberty Pool could open for some swimming later this summer. Witter is further behind.

“To keep the pools open into the school year, I need staff, good weather and attendance,” Strong said. “We want to give everyone a chance, if we can, to swim.”

Nancy Goodspeed, spokeswoman for Spokane’s Parks and Recreation Department, said pools generally close about the time school starts, but Spokane Public Schools will start early this year – Aug. 27 – and the city wants to give swimmers a chance to experience the new facilities. So at least some pools will stay open as long as the weather holds and staff members stick around, she said.

So far, the fee for kids hasn’t kept them away from the first two pools to open, Shadle, 2005 W. Wellesley Ave., and A.M. Cannon, 1900 W. Mission Ave.

Last year, the pools averaged about 260 kids per day per pool, he said. “So far at Cannon and Shadle, we have had 600 per day per pool. At least in the honeymoon period, we have more than doubled our attendance.”

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