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Pool committee prepping for final push

The group needs to raise $40,000 to fund its communications campaign in favor of passing a bond measure to renovate Newberg's aging aquatic center


Now that the Chehalem Park and Recreation District has agreed to put a $20 million bond measure on the ballot in November, the Chehalem Pool Committee is prepping for its final push to convince voters of the need to renovate the Chehalem Aquatic and Fitness Center.

Right now that means raising the $40,000 to cover an education campaign, informed by CPRD’s voter survey in June and put together with the help of political strategist Jake Weigler.

The pool group, which has already raised $4,000 and formed a six-member fundraising subcommittee, is looking to double its size in the coming weeks, specifically at a fundraising “social” Wednesday. Photo Credit: SUBMITTED - A step toward replacing aging pool complex - An artist rendering shows the concept for a new Chehalem Aquatic Center on Haworth Avenue. The Chehalem Park and Recreation District will go to the voters in November to fund the $20 million project via general obligation bonds.

“I’m very confident we’ll be able to reach that goal of $40,000, just based on the feedback from the people I’ve invited who have already committed to supporting this endeavor,” Chehalem Pool Committee treasurer Mike Schrage said. “So I feel really good about the funding side.”

The three main components of the campaign will be a neighborhood canvassing effort to reach 10,000 homes in the district, three direct mail pieces that will be sent to voters in October, and a telephone campaign over the final three weeks before the election.

“There’s a lot of work that leads up to those,” said committee chairman Jim Seymour, who is also chairman of the fundraising subcommittee. “We’re going to need to recruit about 100 volunteers and just make sure we’re all ready to go. When people will really start to notice is in September.”

The committee will also continue the communication efforts it has already started in other areas, including through social media, speaking engagements and political endorsements.

To this point, the committee has focused much of its energy on communicating the need for a new pool, but also must convince voters that the design for the renovation of the pool will match both the community’s current and future needs.

“It’s just going to be a lot of work and a long road,” Schrage said. “The key is going to be in educating the community on the need and that it’s the responsible thing to do. I think it will pass, but I think it will be a long road.”

While the design calls for the construction of three new pools, it will take advantage of the aquatic center’s current structure, most notably by filling in the current pool to create a gym with an elevated track.

The plan is to build out from the current structure toward Haworth Street, eliminating the small parking lot and drop-off area there, which has been somewhat of a safety hazard. That part of the building will house a 25-yard, eight-lane competition pool and a “leisure” pool, which would feature a zero-level entry, lazy river, slide, spa and an area for youth swim lessons.

The plan also calls for a 25-yard outdoor recreation pool that would be approximately five lanes wide and sit at the corner of Haworth Avenue and Villa Road.

“It’d be your typical small town outdoor pool, of course with the newest technology, but that size and that idea,” Schrage said.

The entrance to the facility would be moved to the northeast side of the building, with an open lobby specifically designed to minimize staffing requirements, that includes a front desk and connects to childcare rooms and family-style dressing rooms.

The second floor would include a weight room, classrooms and seating areas to view the competition pool from above.

The current parking lot at the back of the aquatic center will also be expanded northeast into Babe Nicholas Pool Park, but the wooded area of the park will not be affected.

“We have a responsibility to do this once and to make it run another 45 years and that’s what you have to do to do that,” Schrage said of the design. “The key is just educating the community, the people that can vote for us, and letting them know the condition of the pool as it sits now, the value it has to the community and the need to be good stewards and look forward.”

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