CAMAS — The city of Camas could demolish the Crown Park pool later this year.
There has been talk of renovating or replacing the aging pool for years. The latest evaluation in November estimated it would cost at least $300,000 to attain minimal code compliance. It would cost somewhere between $1.7 million and $2.2 million to bring the pool to full code compliance. The Crown Park pool is the only outdoor public swimming pool in Clark County.
Earlier this month, the city councilors voted to not open the dilapidated pool in 2018.
At the first day of the city council’s annual planning conference on Friday, Camas Parks & Recreation Department Director Jerry Acheson said the city has funds available this year to demolish it.
“The old pool no longer needs to be there,” he said.
No action was taken at the planning conference, but the councilors agreed with Acheson that it is time to start looking into the cost of demolishing the pool, which opened 64 years ago.
The discussion at the conference wasn’t just about demolishing the pool, though. It was about what to put there instead. Last year, the city sent two surveys to residents asking them about renovating the park and pool area, and came up with two conceptual designs.
The first replaces the existing pool with a new outdoor family leisure pool. That option also includes a new playground, picnic shelter, amphitheater and a multipurpose sports court to accommodate half-court basketball, pickle ball, skateboarding and futsal, which is based on soccer. That option is estimated to cost nearly $10.5 million.
The second option, which is recommended by the planning advisory commission and parks commission, removes the pool and replaces it with a splash pad. That option also has an amphitheater, sports court and picnic shelter. That option would cost an estimated $5.2 million.
“I think the community is holding on to the nostalgia of the pool,” Councilor Deanna Rusch said. “This is a great, modern alternative.”
The councilors agreed they’d like the parks staff to come up with funding options for the splash pad option. When Acheson presented it, he gave the councilors the option of building the project in phases, but they agreed they’d rather tackle the entire thing at once.
One cause for concern for councilors was if they go with the splash pad, they’ll need to make it a high priority to figure out how to get a public pool back to the city.
City Administrator Pete Capell said Camas has had early discussions with Washougal and the Port of Camas-Washougal about possibly teaming up on a project to bring a shared indoor aquatic center to east county. The project could include a community center, and they’ve had dialogue with YMCA officials about their options. Councilor Melissa Smith said the two cities, two school districts and the port should hold a joint meeting to discuss the project.
Councilor Shannon Turk said the community center would have to be included in that project.
“You don’t see standalone aquatic facilities anymore,” she said. “They’re too expensive to maintain. You need the other services to subsidize it.”
Councilor Don Chaney said he’d want to hear how the city plans on funding a project before agreeing to it, and he’d want some more reassurance that the city will find a way to replace the pool with one somewhere else in the city before going along with the splash pad.
Adam Littman: 360-735-4518; firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/a_littman