By Dena Wood
The Times 

Community Groups Step in to Support Pool

Free Family Swim Days at Waitsburg pool will offset Saturday closures


Courtesy Photo

Friends of the Waitsburg Pool President Trevor Johnson presents a $1,000 check to City Manager Randy Hinchliffe to go towards the purchase of a new solar pool cover.

WAITSBURG – Operating and maintaining the Waitsburg City Pool can be a drain on the city's budget, but council members continue to agree that keeping the community asset up and running is worth the effort and expense. This year, several community groups have stepped in to lend a helping hand.

The donor that has sponsored Saturday swims in recent years has bowed out this year, which means the pool will be open on weekdays only. City Manager Randy Hinchliffe told the city council that, surprisingly, Saturday is typically the slowest day of the week at the pool. He attributed that to the likelihood that families may be out doing things together on Saturdays.

In response, several local groups are stepping in to sponsor one Saturday each month as a Free Family Swim Day. The groups will cover the cost of operating the pool for the day and will provide free food and drinks for swimmers.

"We'd really like to encourage the whole family to spend an afternoon at the pool together," said Waitsburg Resource Center board member Margie Benson.

The WRC will sponsor the first Free Family Swim Day on June 24, from 1-5 p.m., and will provide hot dogs, chips and water on the pool lawn. The Friends of the Waitsburg Pool will sponsor on July 22, and the Waitsburg Lions Club will sponsor an August 19 free swim day.

The Friends of the Waitsburg Pool, part of the nonprofit Rural Youth Enrichment Services, also donated $1,000, raised from the Laurette McCaw Pie-Oneer Pie Baking Contest, toward the purchase of a new solar blanket for the pool. The much-needed cover cost $4125.

Pool Supervisor Kelly Steinhoff said Pacific Power is also planning to donate $1,500 toward the repairs and maintenance materials purchased this year. The pool received a new coating of rubberized paint prior to opening, as well as other minor repairs. And the Prescott pool donated rubber matting that has been laid in the locker rooms, she said.

A grant from Friends of the Waitsburg Pool, overseen by the Blue Mountain Community Foundation and originated by Dr. Roger and Laura Jean Hevel, makes swim lessons free to Waitsburg residents each summer. Visit the pool or City Hall to register for lessons.


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