Friday, March 9, 2018

Spokane Parks makes swimming free at all six public pools starting summer 2018

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge Spokane Parks makes swimming free at all six public pools starting summer 2018
City of Spokane
A.M. Cannon Aquatic Center in Spokane's West Central neighborhood.
Heading to the pool to cool off this summer won't cost you a dime, thanks to a newly approved measure by the Spokane Park Board.

Open swimming sessions at all six of the city-run aquatic centers will be free for kids and adults starting this summer. The pools at Shadle, Comstock, Hillyard, Liberty, A.M. Cannon and Mission parks open for the summer season on June 18, with regular hours of operation running until August 25. (Click here for hours.)

City leaders hope this move will reduce barriers of access to the pools' open swim times, and will increase attendance, especially at the aquatic facilities it considers underutilized (Liberty, Cannon and Hillyard).

“Offering free open swim at city pools provides a great opportunity for many kids and families in our area,” says Park Board President Nick Sumner. “Increasing access to our aquatic centers gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy a family-friendly activity that is fun, promotes safety and leads to a healthier community.”

Last year's operating cost for all six centers was just over $1 million, and revenue from admissions ($2 for children and $4 for adults per visit) came in under $200,000, which the city considers a small gap to cover in exchange to offer residents free swimming. Funding for this year's pool operations will come from previous years' annual reserve excess. From this year forward, free swimming will become part of the annual parks budget.

In addition to open swim times, the measure also includes free access to parent-tot time, a calm and exclusive swim time in the pools' wading area. Lap swimming and family nights are also included. Swim lessons offered through the parks department, along with novice swim team and aquatic fitness programs, will continue to be offered for a modest sign-up fee.

In past years, a number of community groups sponsored free swim days at Spokane's public pools, and park leaders now hope those funds can be redirected to free swim lessons or other aquatics programs.

No change will be made to the number of lifeguards on duty at the city-run aquatic centers.

Anyone who has already purchased a 2018 season pass to the pools will be refunded.

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Chey Scott

Chey Scott is the Inlander's Arts and Culture Editor and editor of the Inlander's yearly, glossy magazine, the Annual Manual. Chey (pronounced "Shay") is a lifelong resident of the Spokane area and a graduate of Washington State University. She's been on staff at the Inlander since 2012...