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West Linn aquatic center on November ballot?

Hope is to work with a financial or operational partner for pool, rec. center

With the new police station measure passed and the process to build it under way, the city of West Linn is moving forward with its next big project - a pool and recreation center.

Though discussed for several years, it looks as though the project may make the November 2012 ballot.

Two representatives from the West Linn Aquatic Task Force addressed the city council during its Dec. 19 work session. Though the task force had originally hoped to bring the pool to a May vote, members felt the timing was too quick.

'We've continued to work in the background and move the initiative forward,' said Nancy Gilday, president of the advocacy group Citizens for West Linn Aquatic Community Center.

The proposed pool and recreation center would be built on 7.5 acres off Parker Road and near Tanner Creek Park and would include a recreation pool, room to add a competition pool, indoor sport courts, an elevated running track, a fitness center with studios, and amenities such as patio seating, a snack bar and recreation space for teens.

'We see the West Linn pool and recreation center as a healthy destination for all at the heart of our community and a gathering place for all generations,' said Nancy King, West Linn Aquatic Task Force member, a group of citizens chosen by city staff.

Gilday said the capital bond would be for no more than $22 million, which would translate to $143 a year per $240,000 assessed property value.

She said the fitness and recreation components of the facility would provide the income needed to alleviate the need for a future operating levy. The hope is to work with a financial or operational partner.

'We want to proceed cautiously and in a smart way,' Gilday said.

The city parks and recreation department is currently seeking requests for information (RFI) to identify potential partners.

'We all agree the RFI process needs to be thorough, thoughtful and fully played out before a bond measure for the West Linn pool and recreation center appears on any ballot,' King said.

According to the West Linn Aquatic Center's Facebook page, the task force has already met with the CEO from the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette, who 'expressed interest in partnering with West Linn in regards to operating this facility.'

Gilday and King asked the council to include the pool and recreation center on the council's list of priorities for 2012. Questions gauging citizen interest in a pool and recreation center will be added to the city's January community attitude survey.

'We are representing citizens who are very committed to making this a reality,' Gilday said.