Battle Ground postpones pool discussions

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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BATTLE GROUND — Discussions on whether or not to build a community pool in Battle Ground will keep treading water for a little while longer.

The city council on Monday voted to push back talks on the pool until after the Nov. 5 general election. Those talks could begin as early as 2014.

But one councilman hopes the project is dead in the water.

“It’s not worth doing,” said Battle Ground City Councilman Philip Johnson. “We should squash it now. I would gladly make a motion never to talk about it again.”

Johnson said it would be unfair to expect voters to pay more for a community pool at a time when the city struggles to find money to pay for striping streets and other services.

The top proponent of the project on council, Mike Ciraulo, was absent from Monday's meeting. While a community group headed by Battle Ground resident Joy Diane Russell is taking the lead on the pool project, Ciraulo has acted as a point person on city council.

The proposal, never formally presented to city council, called for the city to partner with the YMCA of the Columbia-Willamette and use bonds to pay for the project. The community group behind the proposal also wanted to partner with the Battle Ground School District so it could use some of the district's existing property to build the pool.

If the council readdresses the proposal in 2014, Johnson said he would vote to push back indefinitely.

"Basic services are much more important than a swimming pool," Johnson said.