There’s still a chance for the Pool Board to install an enclosure over the future community pool.
That was the takeaway from the White Salmon Valley Pool Metropolitan Park District’s Thursday night discussion leading up to the decision whether to move forward with a grant application through the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The discussion culminated in a 2-2 vote from the board. Such a vote meant they did not receive enough approval from commissioners to apply. In effect, the vote struck down any possibility for the board to apply, given the grant’s tight deadline and the board’s preparedness, or lack thereof, for such a move.
This means the board still has flexibility in its approach, since applying for such a grant would have meant restricting its design options so much that installing an enclosure would have been impossible. What it gained in freedom of choice, it lost in thousands of dollars in potential grant money.
Although the vote failed, a consensus among the board appeared to form to complete the comprehensive plan, regardless of application status. The board is expected to schedule work sessions in conjunction with regular board meetings to focus on the task.
The vote may have come as a surprise to some who attended these last two meetings – the board’s grant writer, Kathleen Harris, had argued a week prior that the grant was the most viable option for the board to consider applying for. As she undertook the project to fill in missing pieces of the comprehensive plan that was required for the grant application, she found there was not enough information gathered by the board to consider the document complete. She recommended the board not apply.
“During the development of the comprehensive plan this past week, it became clear that the district is not quite ready to apply for the grant. The [comprehensive] plan requires the district to provide details that aren’t available, to the lack of a pool design, cost estimates, a project timeline and projected revenue sources for the project,” Harris said.
“My concern … was that there’s no plan for raising money,” Harris continued. “If we get restricted funding like a grant from a state or other grants, it’s not like donor funding where it may be unrestricted.”
The earliest the board could reapply for the grant is 2022, since it is a two-year program, Harris noted.
Commissioner Karen Skiles also reversed course, arguing the projected timeline they would be working with to submit the application would have culminated in a rushed job regarding the comprehensive plan.
“I was really concerned that we’re really throwing this together that might not be accurate or really our best,” Skiles said.
Skiles also argued, by finishing the comprehensive plan together, the board could set aside divides and work collectively towards the shared goal of constructing the pool. Commissioner Benjamin Briggs agreed.
Commissioner Lily von Mosch advocated for finishing the comprehensive plan in time to apply for the grant, until it was revealed there was not enough time to schedule a meeting to approve the comprehensive plan.
Commissioner Troy Witherrite missed the meeting the week prior, which perhaps could have changed the outcome for the group, because he voiced his support for applying to the grant program, arguing the board had been discussing completing a comprehensive plan for a year and a ‘yes’ vote would motivate the board to finish it. He motioned for a vote, with vonMosch seconding.
Briggs and Skiles voted against applying for a grant. Commissioner Lloyd DeKay was absent.
There is still no confirmation by the board that it plans to move forward with plans to install an enclosure – that decision is expected to be hashed out during the course of the pool board’s updates to the comprehensive plan and as it undergoes preliminary engineering processes, something that has yet to be mapped out in the board’s timeline.