Tonasket pool nears completion

Construction nears completion on the new Tonasket Community Swimming Pool in History Park. Officials are tentatively planning for an early July opening.

TONASKET — A smile slipped across Norm Weddle’s face Thursday morning as crews began pouring a concrete slab next to the newly constructed bathhouse at the site of the new community swimming pool in History Park.

“I knew this was a generous community,” Weddle said while looking at the empty concrete shell set to be filled later this month. “But I thought It’d take considerably longer” to raise the funds.

Weddle, the president of the Tonasket Swimming Pool Association said officials hope to have the pool open to the public early next month.

“We’re pushed back to early July,” he said noting the long winter and wet spring set the project back from it’s initially set June opening. “We just ended up behind.”

But not financially.

Numerous donors stepped up with monetary donations, pledges and some even donated their heavy equipment, products and expertise to the project.

Early project figures indicated the project would cost $595,000 for WMS Aquatics bid for design and construction of the pool, $350,000 for the design and construction of the bathhouse, and $275,000 for decking, fencing, lifeguard chairs, slide and other accessories.

“We’ve collected a little over $1 million,” he said, noting an estimated $200,000 in services have been donated, too.

“Bob (McDaniel) excavated; Roger Sawyer graded and compacted,” Weddle said. “Midway Building (Supply) donated materials for the (bathhouse) building.”

Weddle said Okanogan Valley Concrete also steeped up to help donate concrete.

“It’s just amazing,” Weddle said.

In October last year, the city and the parks district approved an interlocal agreement. The agreement outlines the roles of each entity and provides framework for the funding and management of the new pool.

Because the project is privately funded through donations, the association has been able to use volunteers for certain parts of the project.

The city's 2017 budget indicates that with the parks district’s funding and the estimated revenue generated from pool operations, no additional allocation of city funds will be necessary. Under the interlocal agreement, the city is responsible for managing pool operations such as setting admission rates and generating revenue from swim lessons and private pool rentals.

“They (the city) have a crew ready to take over it,” Weddle said.

In 2010, the city hired Swim World of Spokane to evaluate the former city pool facility, provide a list of deficiencies and cost estimates to correct them, and examine whether the facility could be renovated or needed replacement.

The pool untimely closed in 2011.

“They said it’d be $950,000 to refurbish the old one,” Weddle said. “They went clear up to $2.3 million.”

In August 1948, a committee was formed to bring a swimming pool to Tonasket. Money was raised and labor and materials were donated. The hole was dug in May 1949. However, in August construction was halted, $1,500 short of cash to pay the bills. More money was raised and the project resumed. In March of 1950, another $3,000 was needed to complete the project. The pool then opened in 1950, and served the community for 60 years.

“Many local children learned to swim there, were on the swim team, and spent summer days at the pool, a simple joy of summer,” pool officials said. “Aside from learning to swim, a pool is an asset to a small community as a gathering place, an exercise facility, a competition venue and just a fun place to hang out.”

The Tonasket Swimming Pool Association is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1217, Tonasket, WA 98855; or deposited at US Bank, account No. 153566406168.

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