Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

In defense of city governance

To the Editor,

A recent letter from a well-intentioned newcomer to Waitsburg unfortunately accused the Mayor, the City Council and City Staff of allowing the swimming pool, and Fairgrounds to fall into disrepair and close. And suggested that the Weller Library is being sold. As the husband of a City Council member I have a bit of insight into these issues and would like to correct some misapprehensions.

These issues are much more complex than can be addressed in a letter. They are the cumulative result of decades of cost-cutting and postponing improvements. Those chickens have now come home to roost.

The Fairgrounds are currently (with COVID-related exceptions) used by FFA, T-Ball, 4H, Salmon Feed and much-attended Celebration Days events. The last time horse racing was held there was in 2006. It was cancelled here, in Dayton and elsewhere because the State of Washington stopped underwriting the necessary and expensive insurance for such parimutuel horseracing.

Our grandstands and stables need major repairs and would need a designated, experienced (and costly) event promoter to be self-sustaining. This is not a new problem nor is it fixable without incurring enormous expense. Without a viable plan forward they will fall apart or become another financial drain on taxpayers. The citizens of the town have repeatedly made it clear they do not wish to fund such endeavors.

Our 1929 swimming pool was tested and professionally inspected a few weeks ago. It needs substantial repairs and upgrades. Who is going to pay for that? Furthermore, good luck trying to hire lifeguards with sufficient training to ensure the safety of our children and protect the city from lawsuits.

The library building is not for sale. NOT FOR SALE!

It’s fine and fair to express your support for your candidate of choice, whether for Mayor or City Council. But simply throwing shade on the folks who have been volunteering untold amounts of their time and energy to make Waitsburg safe, improve streets and sewers, safeguard the water system, support new and existing businesses on Main Street and attract serious investment in long-neglected downtown buildings while managing a very tight budget is not helpful. In fact, it’s destructive. If you have a solution to offer, great. If you just want to complain, then please do some research first. Even better, reach out to your Council members and/or your Mayor. They would welcome your constructive, fact-based input.

Thank you,

Paul Gregutt

Waitsburg, Wash.


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