Summer? Really? Pool opens; campgrounds full

It may not seem like it because of all the rain, but spring is here, and summer’s not too far off.

That was evident at the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks and Recreation meeting last week.

Dan Hamlin, Parks Services Division director, said local campgrounds already are filling up on weekends for the first time since before COVID. “People are itching to get out,” he said.

And Mark Benishek, Recreation Division director, reported that the outdoor pool at the Bainbridge Recreation Center just opened. On the first day, he said one person braved the 46-degree temperature and swam for a half hour. More have used it since it has warmed up, he added. He said swimming is going on just three days a week, but will increase based on weather and attendance. He expects it to be open all day when school lets out.

Speaking of swimming, he said local swimmer Amy Hunt recently competed at nationals in San Antonio and placed in the top four in all four of her races. He also talked of three high school seniors who signed to swim in college at Princeton, Columbia and Fresno State. Benishek said parks is going to have another lifeguard class, and it also is going to offer extended training, so they don’t have “green instructors out there with the little ones.”

He also said 2,100 people have signed up for summer classes, and a lot of assistance was provided for those in need. He also parks may have a registration day on a Saturday in the fall to make it easier on working families.

Finally, he talked about a new feature at the trail at Battle Point Park. Kiosks will feature works of local artists and authors. There will be images people can click on with their phones, and stories will be read to them. “Keep an eye out for that,” he said.

Hamlin gave an update on Strawberry Hill Park. He said parks will be meeting with neighbors mid-May to talk about potential changes, such as lighting. While still in the early planning stages, he said a lot of expertise is being used. “It will be quite a change down there,” he said.

He also gave an update on the bike park there. Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance was chosen to build it. A community survey will occur, with officials pulling together all the ideas and putting proposals together by mid-July. In late September the plan is to bring a proposal to the community.

In another matter, Terry Lande, parks executive director, said a lot of discussions are taking place with the Environmental Protection Agency regarding funding to clean up Pritchard Park. He also talked about applying for a grant for a dock extension. Other news included hiring for summer camps, hiring a new pilates instructor and the start of a Cornhole League.

During closing comments by parks commissioners, Dawn Janow said she enjoyed seeing so much of the community at Earth Day events. “It warms my heart how we all worked together.”

Ken DeWitt said he could not believe how bad one trail was. “You wouldn’t know tons of junk was taken out of there.”

Jay Kinney said he went by the Founders Court and found the legendary pickleball area “sparkling clean.” He added apparently a CBS morning show filmed a story about it.

DeWitt added he was at a ferry bus stop and talked to some folks from the San Francisco Bay Area. “They were tourists here to see Founders Court. Word is getting out.”

Bainbridge Island Recreation Center
Bainbridge Island Recreation Center sign