BI pool needs extreme makeover

Ray Williamson Pool at the Bainbridge Island Aquatic Center is showing its age.

It’s 51, built in 1970 as an outdoor pool.

“Nobody thought this pool would last” that long, Terry Lande, executive director of the BI Metro Parks & Recreation District, said last week at their parks board meeting.

Parks staff is recommending up to $2 million in upgrades to the pool that would extend its life for 10 years or more.

Staff says that appears to be the best option because now is not the time to run a bond to build a new pool. The reason: The Bainbridge School District is expected to try to pass a bond in 2025 to address needs at the Ordway and Commodore campuses.

“That bond could easily be $100 million plus,” Lande said.

Dawn Janow, board chair, said, “They’re going to take a look at their needs first.”

There is no way competing bonds would be a good idea, they agreed, as school support would be needed to pass a pool bond.

The six-lane 25-yard pool, which was fully enclosed in 1977, was just one of the topics discussed by the parks board as goals for 2022.

Staff agreed that not all of the goals can be done in one year, but the board will begin budget discussions at its next meeting. Goals guide budget discussions as they determine staffing and overall costs.

The goals include:

• Replace sail floats at Eagle Harbor and Port Madison.

• Address parking issues at trailheads by adding more lots, expanding current ones and by improving road shoulder parking.

• Constructing mountain bike trails and expanding the dog park on the 10 acres donated this year at Strawberry Hill Park.

• Enhance Pritchard Park

• Develop new trails by securing easements and funding construction.

• Increase community events such as the popular summer concert series.

• Regarding its recently purchased BI Recreation Center, make improvements to the facility, add adult and kid programs, and make sure it’s affordable to give access to all residents.

Parks Commissioner Ken Dewitt added that he’d like to see access increased for people with mobility issues, and fellow Commissioner Jay Kinney said plans need to be made for additional pickleball and tennis courts.