June 9, 2010 in City

Spokane dedicates Liberty Aquatic Center

Swimming at city facilities starts Monday
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photo

Glenna Poblete, who lives next door to the new Liberty Aquatics Center at Fifth and Pittsburgh in the east central neighborhood, explores the new facility Wednesday, June 9, 2010, after the pool’s dedication.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

Swim season

• Spokane city pools open Monday. For times, programs and fees visit the Spokane Parks Department website. Or call the pool hotline at (509) 625-6960.

• Spokane County’s Southside Aquatic Facility opens Friday; the Northside Aquatic Facility opens June 18 and Holmberg Pool opens June 21. For more information, visit the Spokane County Parks website.

The city of Spokane dedicated its sixth – and final – new pool Wednesday at Liberty Park.

The skies were cloudy and threatening, but Hanna Franchino was ecstatic, remembering a far more threatening time in Spokane’s pool history.

In 2006, she got active in the grass-roots “Citizens for Parks and Play Committee” hoping to raise interest, and money, to rebuild Spokane’s pool legacy. The city’s six broken-down pools were a civic embarrassment.

“When we started, it looked like we would be a city without pools. It was scary,” she said.

Franchino and hundreds of other residents worked toward the passage of a $43 million pools and parks bond, which voters overwhelmingly approved in 2007.

Four new pools opened last year – Shadle, A.M. Cannon, Comstock and Hillyard. This will be the first season at the new Witter and Liberty aquatic centers.

About 30 people attended the ribbon-cutting.

“With each new pool, we have given our children a gift for the future,” Mayor Mary Verner said.

The dedication proceeded with no surprises, unlike the May 12 dedication of Witter where the larger of the two pools was dedicated dry, due to a leak that’s since been repaired.

As Verner spoke Wednesday, Franchino – now a member of the Parks Bond Citizens Advisory Committee – wiped away tears.

“It’s silly – these are just swimming pools – but it makes me cry,” she said. “I think we’ve all done something for our little ones.”

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