By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

Dayton community pulls together for city pool measure


October 5, 2023

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information about drowning prevention.

DAYTON-An informational meeting about Proposition 1, the measure to create the Columbia County Pool District, was held on September 27, 2023, in the Delany Room at the Dayton Memorial Library.

This was the second of three meetings planned by organizers to share information and answer questions about the measure appearing on the November ballot. Lisa Naylor presented a PowerPoint presentation and was joined by Chuck Beleny and Kevin Rust. Diane McKinley was unable to attend.

Their presentation focused on letting the public know what the proposed district is and what it is not

Proposition 1 on the November 2023 ballot is the second attempt to form a taxing district in Columbia County for a municipal pool. A metropolitan parks and recreation district was proposed by the Friends of the Dayton Pool in 2022.

The 2022 measure was not approved by voters, partly due to concerns over scope and taxation. After the election, community members who opposed the metropolitan parks and recreation district formed a "Just a Pool" committee and worked with some members of the Friends of the Dayton Pool to work on a new ballot measure to create a "pool only" parks and recreation district.

Some of the issues discussed at the meeting included making the pool should be seasonal (for now,) it should be heated, and the tax burden low. Beleny and Naylor described their research into other municipalities with public pools. They looked at newer and older pools, issues in funding, maintenance, and funding sources.

The Parks and Recreation District board would need to address the condition of the current pool facility. The pool was filled and will need to be emptied and the concrete and infrastructure removed, should the voters approve the measure to replace it. The pool house has fallen into disrepair and must be updated.

In 2018, Dayton Public Works assessed the cost to build a new facility at $2.5 million; this cost would be higher today. The construction costs would not be paid through taxpayer levies but would come from other funding, including public and private grants. Beleny said the city would lease the pool property to the parks and recreation district for only $1.

Members of the audience commented on the national shortage of public pools in the country and the increase in accidental deaths by drowning in children. The consensus in the room was that the community needs to address water safety and provide a public pool. The next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on October 25 in the Delany Room at the Dayton Memorial Library.


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