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YMCA, city in talks to give public pool access, new park

EVERETT — A second swimming center for Everett may
become available to the public in 2019 and a new large park next door would be built by 2021 under a two-for-one agreement the city is working on with the YMCA of Snohomish County.
An agreement to give city residents access to the pool going into the future Y midtown on Colby Avenue could be back before the City Council in the coming weeks.
Right now the talks are in the development phase.
City leaders want to reel back swimmers who now travel to
nearby, newer pools in Lynnwood and Snohomish.
The city gauges that enough demand exists for this pool to complement the Forest Park Swim Center about 1.7 miles away.
One plan is to let the two pools complement each other, YMCA vice president Ted Wenta said. The Y pool, for example, wouldn’t have a deep diving pool.
It was also brought up that equal swim access for low-income families. Mayor Ray Stephanson echoed councilmembers’ statements.
It should be a mutual goal that every child knows how to swim, Stephanson said.
The city has no plans to close the Forest Park Swim Center. Instead, opening the future pool to the public means more open swim time for people, city leaders note. City Councilmembers support the plan but just want assurance the public will get its “bang for the buck” if the city’s spending money for access.
Building the new midtown park would cost another $2 million, which city capital accounts would pay a good chunk toward. The city intends to ask for state grant dollars to defray development costs.
Building a park here would close a gap in having park space
citywide, noted Paul Kaftanski, a city executive director. The Y would transfer a part of its acreage to the city under the deal.
The city would pay the YMCA $2.5 million toward the pool in four installment payments, but it has that covered. The city is due to receive money from an agreement with concrete producer Cemex and that money will be passed through for the Y pool deal. The Cemex payments came from a development agreement the city and the concrete company’s predecessor made in 1998; the deal also
secured 100 acres of future parkland in south Everett that was transferred over this spring.
Going forward with this park would delay plans to redevelop Howarth and Edgewater Parks as a trade-off.
City Council uniformly agreed to go forward with the partnership. A few councilmembers, though, wanted to ensure Everett residents wouldn’t be crowded out if the pool reaches capacity.
The working agreement says that Y members would be given priority if the pool gets full of people, however, that’s an incredibly unlikely scenario, Kaftanski said.
The pool could have amenities including lap swim and a lazy river feature. The Snohomish Aquatic Center has a lazy river that’s been a hit with leisure swimmers.
City leaders also envision a part of the Y would also serve as a community hub for events such as neighborhood meetings.
The YMCA wants to break ground next summer and open the new Y in fall 2019.It began developing the approximately $30 million new center in 2015 after it bought the school district’s former administration building at 4730 Colby Ave.
The larger Y will be able to serve more than 32,000 people, which is about 20,000 more than the current Y downtown, the YMCA says.

  

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