Letter | Valley needs an Aquatics Facility for everyone and competitive swimming

Dear Editor,

We, the undersigned, recognize the overdue need for an aquatics facility in the Snoqualmie Valley. On behalf of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, we ask Snoqualmie Valley residents to join us by leading the advocacy efforts to bring to the Valley a state-of-the-art, sustainable aquatics center.

There is a need to meet the aquatics and wellness needs of the community through a state-of-the-art aquatics center. We envision an aquatics center that is accessible, culturally inclusive, operationally efficient, and a vibrant hub built on a foundation of lasting local partnerships for many generations to come. 

As most of us know, there are currently two proposals for building pool facilities in the Valley: the YMCA/City of Snoqualmie option and the Si View Park District option.

We do not take a side on which is the better facility to support or whether a combined effort should be made, however, we would like you to consider the following needs and requirements for an aquatics facility that serves the people of the Valley.

We are hoping to see local citizens like us and the political leaders in the Valley cast vision for what can be a life altering project for so many people whom we call our friends and neighbors.

Our Beliefs Regarding Aquatics:

  • Communities are stronger with places to be active and social together.  Aquatics are one of the lowest physical impact and healthiest activities for all ages and abilities to stay active. Our Valley is in great need of a public aquatic facility that will serve everyone’s needs. It’s time to make this a reality.
  • An Aquatics Center should be a Thriving Community Space for competitive swimming
  • Accessible, safe and healing. A place where people belong no matter their abilities or age.
  • A destination place where families want to be, community finds value, and is sought after year round. An active place to be; an oasis.
  • A place to cross paths, meet through exercise and unite among our differences. Our diversity is one in the water.

Our Vision for a Snoqualmie Valley Aquatics Center:

  • A place for every child and adult to learn to swim, so that it not only may save their life someday, but it will:
  • Introduce them to a lifetime of joy & fitness in the water.
  • Increase the likelihood that they will exercise as they age.
  • Open the door to water sports like swimming, water polo, synchronized swimming, diving, scuba diving, kayaking, etc.
  • Increase the chance they will teach their children to swim & be active.
  • Increase the probability they will give back to their community.
  • A place that Meets ‘Best in Class’ Criteria:
  • Broad Community Programs, Access, and Involvement.
  • Meets the aquatics needs of recreational, competitive, social and therapeutic constituents across the widest range of ages and abilities. 
  • Community Outreach Programming that gives back and invests. 
  • Multi–Generational
  • Affordable Public Access
  • Source of Community Pride.
  • A place that is Financially Sustainable and Operationally Efficient through State-of-the-Art Facility Design that will reduce ongoing maintenance cost:
  • Programming and Event Models that optimize revenue and community growth. 
  • Renewable revenue streams to support facility maintenance & operations.
  • Manages high costs of facility with low loss and annual revenue growth. 
  • Optimized economic impact through planned event capacity & programming
  • Technically at forefront for aquatics facilities and maintenance.
  • Contextually sensitive to environment, demographics, and location.

The Aquatics Center will need to be:

  • A place for Total Community Health
  • An Aquatics Center should be open to ALL residents –ages & abilities, not just members.
  • It needs to serve our large foreign born community as well as youth, families, active adults, seniors, amateur athletes, special needs
  • A place that promotes Health & Wellness & Community Prevention 
  • Programming from Infants to Seniors that builds, maintains, and supports all activity levels
  • Grow amateur athletics including competitive swimming and all aquatics disciplines for all ages and all abilities.
  • Attract local & new residents. 
  • Build Community –Exercise, Meetings, and Shared Spaces that Inspire our Youth and Serve our Families.
  • The minimum requirements that any Aquatic Center must have to meet the basic needs of the Snoqualmie Valley:
    • Minimum 25 yard 6 lane pool with Lane lines and deck markings per USA swimming standards.*
    • Pool needs to be deep enough at each end to meet USA swimming standards for block starts and flip turns.* 
    • Starting blocks and backstroke flags that meet USA swim standards for safety.*
    • 1 meter diving board with pool deep enough for safe diving (12 feet recommended – 11.5’ is the minimum FINA/USA Diving standard for safety). 
      • Deep water is also essential for teaching swimming and water safety. 
      • Deep water would also support the development of Synchronized Swimming as well as Water Polo and scuba training.
    • The ability to host Mount Si High School (MSHS) swim meets including deck space for swimmers and seating for spectators.
    • Drop-in fee system so high school swimmers and those learning to swim can use the pool outside of school times (ie. no membership required). 
      • Swimmers and divers will need to practice outside of normal practice times to hone and develop their skills. Membership requirements will be a barrier to SVSD410 students outside of school swim sessions.
      • Water safety classes are not enough to build safe swimmers. Regular access to the water build strong swimmers. Membership only requirements will be a barrier to this. 
    • Access for SVSD Phys Ed classes to be held at the pool, teaching valuable skills such as swimming, first aid, water safety, lifesaving, etc. 

Extra requirements that show vision for the future:

  • A facility that would provide access for a club level USA Swimming year round swim team in Snoqualmie.
  • Timing system for competitive swim meets that the high school could use.
  • Meet water polo standards for depth and width. (Water polo is a growing sport in the region and Snoqualmie may soon want to field a team)

*(Please see the facility specifications per 2019 USA Swimming Rulebook HERE. The /M/ = mandatory standards is what we believe should be the minimum standard for the facility.)

We the undersigned ask for your consideration of these minimum competitive swimming requirements as well as your support for our vision of an Aquatics Facility for everybody.  Please contact, as we have, the Snoqualmie City Council and Mayor, the SVSD 410 School Board members, and the Si View Parks and Recreation Department as to their support for building an Aquatics Center that meets the minimum needs of our Valley

Sincerely,

Dr. Kevin and Atsuko Cooney, MSHS Parents and Snoqualmie residents, USA Swimming Referee (N2)/MSHS Swimming Referee. NCAA Division I Swimmer

Chris & Tonya Guinn, MSHS Parents and Snoqualmie residents

Kay Ann Ruffin. MSHS Parents and Snoqualmie residents

Michael & Debbie Kuehner, Snoqualmie residents

Jill Dais-Brenne, SVSD410 certified staff and parent

Patrick & Leanne Stewart, MSHS Girls Swim Coach for MSHS, Snoqualmie residents and MSHS Parents

Hangmei Lin, MSHS Parent and Snoqualmie resident

Michael & Jennifer Gibbs, MSHS Parents and Snoqualmie residents

Rick & Karen Moulton, MSHS Parents and Fall City residents

Chris and Valerie Berglund, Snoqualmie Residents and MSHS Diving coach

David McCabe, Snoqualmie resident

Brian & Joanna Dickinson, Snoqualmie Residents and SVSD parents

(The opinions in this letter represent the personal opinions of each person and not the opinions of their employers or any affiliated organization that they are a member of.)

Comments

  1. Fuzzy Fletcher says

    I support this vision of an all inclusive Aquatic Center in the upper Snoqualmie Valley.
    Lets build it once and adequate for everyone that wants to use it.
    I am not in favor of one plan over another, just as long as it is well thought out, inclusive and we know what the total end costs are. Costs should not be just how much is spent to start the project but the total payback of the money borrowed, the upkeep and maintenance. insurance and daily costs of running the enterprise. Once we have all the facts and costs of all plans, then take it to the voters of the jurisdictions involved and let the voters decide.

  2. Jerome Powell says

    Seems like a feasibility study is being requested? But who would pay for this study? Should we start with a vote on the feasibility study? Which of course would need to stay below budget. What about a traffic and environmental impact report? I don’t want to be stuck in traffic or have any trees cut down. How about creating a committee with open public meetings to select the best aquatic center proposal which then would be voted on by the people? But who would serve on this committee? Better vote on this as well…

  3. Linda Grez says

    The City of Snoqualmie is having a council meeting tonight (8/15) at 5:30 and the City’s Non-utility Capital Improvement Plan includes the $10 million contribution to the YMCA for their pool. Their timeline is extremely fast so any citizens of SNQ who want to have any input on the City’s spending and decision-making should consider attending and speaking before the meeting begins.
    http://wa-snoqualmie.civicplus.com/496/Council-Agenda

  4. Small correction the meeting is on 8/12:) Also, I read the City’s CIP and the process started in Aug of 2018 and had a timeline of major events in creating the current CIP. I believe some of the projects detailed in the CIP have even longer histories as the river walk project has been in the news for close to a decade now. My understanding from attending meetings is the community center will still be owned by the City but operated by the YMCA even after the expansion. Based on what I read and past history I’m confident the elected officials will make the correct decisions for the community. Lastly, the community center expansion needs a resolution to pass tonight to even move the project to the next step.
    http://wa-snoqualmie.civicplus.com/496/Council-Agenda
    My prediction is the resolution will pass unanimously.

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