By KEN PARK
For The Enterprise
When the White Salmon City Council chose to close the city pool, it began looking into community gathering alternatives for the citizens of White Salmon.
During the conversation on closing the pool, citizens commented on how the pool acted as a way for the community to come together and frequent the downtown area and visit with friends and neighbors. In response to this, the council began looking into other alternative sources of entertainment and community gathering to fill the gap that the closing of the pool would create.
Councilor Ashley Post suggested following Hood River’s model with hosting Movies in the Park.
The City’s Community Develop-ment Committee came together to figure out how to go about hosting events like that and what is required to make them successful.
A community member stepped up and donated a screen and projection system, which is powerful enough to be viewed even in day- light hours. This would allow for younger children to enjoy the movies in the park and still get to bed on time.
The committee came up with the budget for purchasing the required licenses to the movies, as well as for advertising.
Of the roughly $60,000 remaining in the city pool fund, $3,250 will go into the purchasing of movie licenses and advertising. The committee also recommend that the city purchase the DVDs of the movies rather than rent them from the licensing agent to save money.
“This could also generate a lot of business from the other side of the river, because Hood River is not doing movies in the park this summer. It would be great to get more people at our farmers’ market and see what we offer on this side,” said Post.
The council would like to begin showing movies in the park this month and will begin working on film selection over the coming week, possibly opening the selection process up to the public.
Once the films are selected, they will be shown once a month throughout the summer in conjunction with the White Salmon Farmers’ Market.
While movies in the park is a great community gathering alternative, it still doesn’t fill the void of having a swimming pool. Recog-nizing this, the council has been working in conjunction with Hood River Aquatic Center to create a punch card system allowing White Salmon citizens passes to the Hood River pool this summer.
Twenty thousand dollars from the city pool fund has been set aside to pay for White Salmon residents to swim at the Hood River pool. Adults can purchase punch cards for themselves and their families at White Salmon City Hall. The punch cards will be good for 10 visits to the pool during the summer months. They will need to provide proof of residency and parents will need to claim their children as well.
“We want to try and prevent folks from buying a ton of punch cards for kids that aren’t theirs,” said City Clerk/Treasurer Jan Brending.
Parents will need to get punch cards for each member of their family due to the way the Hood River Pool controls its pricing — $37.50 for children ages 3-17 and seniors 60+, $47.50 for adults 18-59, and admission is free for children under two with a paid adult.
“Because the Hood River Aqua-tic Center is run by a government body, we could not get a discounted rate for White Salmon residents” said Brending.
Hood River Aquatic Center will keep a record of White Salmon residents who use the punch cards at the pool and bill White Salmon on a regular basis.
Punch cards will stop being issued in mid-August or when the $20,000 budget has been spent.
“People must use all of their swims in the summer. There will not be a carry over into the fall and winter. We want to try and mirror the amount of time that our pool was open,” said Brending.
The council unanimously voted on both the movies in the park and Hood River pool punch card system.