Battle Ground council delays talks on proposal for community pool

Commun ity group takes lead on developing new plan

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

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BATTLE GROUND — Discussions of whether to build a community pool in Battle Ground will keep treading water for a little while longer.

On Monday, the city council 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 developing a new pool proposal, Ciraulo has acted as a point person on the council.

Council members last addressed whether to move forward with a pool in 2008. At the time, it was deemed too expensive.

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

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

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

Tyler Graf: 360-735-4517; http://www.twitter.com/col_smallcities; tyler.graf@columbian.com