I believe that investing in West Linn’s future is a good thing and not something to fear. This newspaper recently stated that an aquatic community center is a sorely needed asset in West Linn — but just not right now. My response is: If not now, when?

Citizen task force members have worked for three years on this matter and do not believe we should wait for some magical time when it’s “right.” We do not believe that we should walk away after so many people in West Linn have advocated for a pool for four decades. Measure 3-432 is on the ballot because the people said it is finally time to vote.

Here are the facts:

When Measure 3-432 passes, the city’s general fund will be repaid for the previous land purchase saving $118,000 a year on interest and debt service. In four years the parks and rec bond approved in 1998 will be paid and will no longer appear on tax bills.

After three years as a co-chair of the aquatic center task force, I can tell you that every combination of features, layout and amenities has been studied with a focus on engineering a successful center. The citizen task force didn’t take the operation and financial success of the center lightly.

Working with known industry experts, we studied existing facilities and smartly designed a center with additional revenue-generating features such as a walk/jog track, basketball court, cardio equipment, weight, studio for classes, birthday party rooms, community rooms and other indoor spaces. Without these “dry side” features and business focused cross programming, a center would lose a significant amount of money.

The opposition is leading with the argument that every pool is a money loser. Arguments in the voters pamphlet in opposition focus on North Clackamas Aquatic Center and Madras Aquatic Center. Of course they lose money! These centers only have pools and no other amenities. The real facts are that membership fees will be less expensive than other area facilities outside of our community. Our center will draw new consumers and businesses to West Linn from outside our area and our property values will be bolstered. The comparison by the opposition is misleading, incorrect and ill informed. Family pool vs. Competition pool

We did not believe the community would pay for both types of pools. Our research determined that leading with a family pool with “dry side” features would generate a better financial return than leading with a competition pool.

A family pool is just that, something for everyone in the family. Features like a lazy river are great for inner tube floating and resistance exercise for joint and muscle health. You’ll find warmer water for swim lessons and water aerobics, lap lanes for exercise and birthday party rooms to celebrate with the whole gang. Fear and small thinking do not move West Linn forward. We should invest in schools, infrastructure and the health of our community. I mean the health that comes from getting out of our homes and meeting and exercising in a year round facility where every age can interact and learn from each other.

We can do a wonderful thing for the healthy future of West Linn. Vote yes on Measure 3-432.

Nancy King is a West Linn resident and former co-chairwoman on the aquatic center task force.

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