August 19, 2010 in Washington Voices

Fundraising group offering free swim passes

By The Spokesman-Review
By the numbers

4,500 Number of free swim passes available at Spokane city pools

500 Number of free swim passes in Spokane Valley

15 passes per packets offered to low-income families in Spokane

This was the first summer that children had to pay to go swimming in city pools. Anticipating the hardship that would create for some families, the Spokane Parks Foundation created Make a Splash – a group that raised money for free swim passes.

Make a Splash was so successful it is now in the unusual situation of having 4,500 free passes available in the city and 500 left in Spokane Valley, with pools closing around the end of this month.

“We don’t want any leftovers,” said Toni Nersesian, director of the Spokane Parks Foundation. “We want the kids in the water, and with this hot spell, it would be a great way to wrap up summer.”

In the city, passes are distributed in packets of 15.

“Every child can have a packet, and you can share with your friends,” Nersesian said.

In Spokane, interested families should bring to the pool proof of low-income status, such as free- or reduced-price-lunch cards, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cards, Women, Infants and Children cards or food stamps.

Five Spokane aquatic centers will close Aug. 28. Witter Pool will be open after that for lap swimming Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and swim team use. In Spokane Valley, families should go to Spokane Valley Partners at 10814 E. Broadway Ave. Park Road Pool will close Sunday, Valley Mission Pool on Aug. 29 and Terrace View Pool on Sept. 6.

At Liberty Lake County Park, families should ask for packets at the park’s check-in.

Nersesian said the first time around Make a Splash distributed 15,000 swim passes in Spokane alone.

“The city went through 10,000 passes immediately, then in late July we had the second disbursement of 9,000 passes and it’s some of those that are left over,” she said.

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