Lifeguard Natalie Lidback oversees an aquatic exercise class at William Shore Memorial Pool in Port Angeles on Wednesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Lifeguard Natalie Lidback oversees an aquatic exercise class at William Shore Memorial Pool in Port Angeles on Wednesday. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Pool measure approval to pave way for pool expansion

PORT ANGELES — A measure to allow for an expanded community pool in Port Angeles was passing with more than two-thirds support Tuesday.

The William Shore Memorial Pool District’s proposed debt capacity increase had 3,699 yes votes and 1,806 no votes — a 67.2 percent to 32.8 percent margin — when the Clallam County Auditor’s Office processed the first batch of general election ballots. A second count is expected today.

The debt load increase, which requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass, gives the green light to a long-planned, 10,000-square-foot expansion and remodeling of the pool at 225 E. Fifth St.

“It’s encouraging to know that we’re working on something that is important to our community,” William Shore Pool Director Steve Burke said Wednesday.

“It really reinforces that we’re doing what’s important for our community and not going down a road that our community doesn’t want us to go down. That makes it worth it.

“Also, what’s encouraging with that [67.2 percent] number is that it really helps us with going after grant and bond money,” Burke added. “It shows the community is behind the expansion.”

Construction on the William Shore Memorial Pool expansion is expected to begin in 2019.

The pool likely will close to the public in early 2020 and reopen with new amenities and a west-facing main entrance in June 2020, Burke said.

“Unfortunately, it won’t happen as fast as we would like,” Burke said of the $12 million project.

With the passage of the measure, the pool district’s debt capacity will increase by $3.5 million to about $10 million.

There was no organized opposition to the proposition to increase the debt load.

Pool commissioners now are expected to approve a levy for the expansion.

Property owners within the district, which shares a boundary with the Port Angeles School District, will pay an additional 6 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to help fund the $12 million expansion.

The rest of the expansion will be covered by bonds from existing levy capacity and state grants.

The new pool will have a children’s splash and play area, new locker rooms, a warm-water therapy pool and other amenities.

Built in 1961, the pool is in need of about $2 million in repairs, Burke said in a recent interview.

The 15,000-square-foot facility has become overcrowded with more than 100,000 annual visits, said Burke, who is also a Port of Port Angeles commissioner.

The city of Port Angeles operated the pool since it opened in 1962 and planned to close it in 2008 because of the cost of renovations.

Voters formed a metropolitan park district to save the pool in 2009.

“I’m very thankful for all of the people who went out and canvassed the neighborhoods to support this proposition,” Burke said of the roughly 30 to 40 volunteers who helped advocate for the measure.

“It was very humbling to see how many people were willing to give their own time to support such an important asset in our community.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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