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Eisenschmidt Pool to Scappoose: Come on in, the water's fine!

Manager proposes Scappoose join recreational district


by: MARK MILLER - Children swim and play at Eisenschmidt Pool Tuesday, July 8, as temperatures approach 90 degrees outside. The covered pool also boasts two water slides and rock climbing walls for patrons to enjoy.The district for Eisenschmidt Pool in St. Helens should expand to include the city of Scappoose and the surrounding area, the pool’s manager suggested at a Monday, July 7, meeting in Scappoose City Hall.

Anne Scholz told members of the Scappoose City Council it would be mutually beneficial to the pool district, officially called the Greater St. Helens Parks & Recreation District, and Scappoose residents if Scappoose were to be annexed into the district boundaries.

“It’s in fabulous shape, but I have to fix something major every year,” Scholz said of Eisenschmidt Pool. “What it would allow would be more taxes, more tax money for us to actually make that pool fabulous.”

In return, Scholz said, the pool would abandon its current two-tiered rate structure, under which visitors to the pool from outside the district pay more for fitness classes, group swim lessons and memberships.

“Everyone would pay the in-district rate to swim there,” said Scholz.

The City Council expressed interest in Scholz’s proposal.

“I think it would be great,” said Councilor Barb Hayden.

The Scappoose area used to have its own recreational district, but it was unable to line up operational funding. The Scappoose Parks & Recreation District was dissolved in 2010.

“Ultimately, recreational opportunities in Scappoose currently are being paid for by only the residents of Scappoose, and not the greater Scappoose community,” said Mayor Scott Burge after Monday’s meeting. “If parks and recreation is important to the community, it needs to be community-wide, not just inside the city limits paying for it.”

Of Scholz’s suggestion that Scappoose become part of the Greater St. Helens Parks & Recreation District, Burge said, “The concept is definitely worth exploring. ... I don’t know where it will go, but ultimately, recreational opportunities in south Columbia County are what’s important.”

The current name of the district would not stay the same if Scappoose were included, Scholz assured the council.

“We would change the name,” Scholz said. “We would not continue to call it Greater St. Helens Parks and Rec, so we would include you in any way we can.”

Under Oregon state law, the expansion of the recreational district would likely require the approval of both voters in the existing district and voters in Scappoose.

The district’s board of directors is supportive of the idea, Scholz said.

Eisenschmidt Pool was constructed in the 1930s as a Great Depression-era public works project, according to Scholz.

The property tax levy for the pool district is currently about 23 and a half cents per $1,000 of assessed value for district taxpayers.

Only Burge, Hayden and two other councilors were present for Monday’s meeting.

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