Advocates seek financial details in search for long-term solutions

After Oregon Trail School District announced its “exit strategy” from the pool in November, Friends of Sandy Pool have taken a dive into the deep end in their search for options to keep the pool open.

Friends of Sandy Pool recently met to try and figure out which direction would be best for the future of the pool. Its options are:

n Bring the pool under the umbrella of the city of Sandy (the city has not taken any formal steps toward consideration of this suggestion).

n Form an independent parks and recreation district that would provide consistent funding for the pool.

n Pursue voter approval of some form of bond or operations levy.

Before any of these options can be considered in-depth, Friends of Sandy Pool must produce realistic financial numbers for the pool, said Tammie Macalevy, a Friends of Sandy Pool member.

Macalevy said 2 months of specific financial data are needed, but given Oregon Trail’s deadline of two years, the advocates for the pool can’t wait 12 months to gather the information.

Since the pool costs the most during the winter months, the numbers will be a worst-case scenario.

Members also are researching the costs beyond just simple options, including the capital outlay that will be needed for major repairs and renovation, Macalevy said. “If we know realistically what the numbers are, the city will be more inclined to look at us,” she said.

At their last meeting Monday, Dec. 2, Friends of Sandy Pool members discussed the formation of a task force.

The task force’s mission would be to formulate a plan on how to bring the pool up to code, provide stable funding for ongoing maintenance and operations and promote and advertise the programs offered.

“We’re looking to keep the pool open no matter what,” Macalevy said. “We’re all committed to doing this.”

Sandy Pool’s goal is to give anyone with the desire to learn to swim the ability to do so, she said, and Friends of Sandy pool needs to get as much awareness going in the community as possible.

“We really want the community to see how valuable the pool is as an asset,” she said. “The pool will close in 24 months if we don’t have a plan.”

There are still a lot of questions being asked as to what direction the pool needs to take and how to get there. Friends of Sandy pool hope to get help from communities where the same battle is being fought such as Lebanon and Reedsport.

Pendleton, which went through a similar situation with its pool, is now thriving with the existence of an aquatic park.

Friends of Sandy pool will be having its next board meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at Sandy Family Restaurant, 39024 Proctor Blvd. Macalevy said the group hope to keep the process positive and moving in a forward direction.

“We need to take the focus off of the blame,” she said.

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