Letter to the editor

Support pool bond

To the editor:

I support the August bond measure to update Bainbridge Island’s aging Ray Williamson Pool, built almost 55 years ago. Passing the bond enables the BI Parks board to secure a safe structure that meets the current and future needs of our community.

When the Nakata pool addition was built in 2001, it addressed many shortcomings of the Ray pool, including more space to meet an increasing demand for lessons, a zero-level entry for children and community members with physical challenges, space for water safety instruction, secure shower and locker room facilities, and a functional customer service entry. While the old Ray pool has continued to host lap swimmers, teams, and competitive events, it has not kept up with current engineering standards and demands for that space.

The bond will support essential upgrades to the Ray pool, but also provide a unique opportunity for potentially increasing the pool depth at the shallow end (currently not optimal for lap swimmers and team sports) and add two lanes of space for water exercise, swimming lessons, and team workouts. At an annual estimated cost to taxpayers of $45 per $750,000 of assessed value, it assures equitable access to our pool for all islanders, including those who cannot afford to join private clubs.

With close to 1,000 people on the aquatics center waiting lists last year, we should be doing all we can to optimize available space for everyone in our community!

Eileen McSherry