Volunteers helped keep Tukwila Pool alive | Letter to the editor

There is a group of people in our midst who are passionate about preventing childhood drownings. Not only does the Sustain Tukwila Pool (STP) committee want to ensure that every child in Tukwila and neighboring communities learns to swim, they also want to see our public pool be sustained for future generations. This April will mark two years that STP has met Saturday mornings at Friendz Café in Tukwila as they’ve worked toward this goal.  Most recently the committee prepared and presented to the Tukwila Pool Board of Commissioners a Pool Comparison Report representative of 10 area pools, including Tukwila.  And, it met with Mellody Matthes, Tukwila School District interim superintendent, to show support for restoring a swimming curriculum to our schools.

So who are these STP people? Originally they were strangers to each other, people from all walks of life: a homeschooler, an insurance risk manager, a former bank professional, an IT project manager, a Boeing engineer, a programmer, a marketer, a commercial printer, a system analyst, even a Mount Rainier Pool commissioner.

This diverse group came together in 2011 out of its concern that the City of Tukwila was to close the pool due to the economic downturn.  With that announcement, the STP sprang into action, lobbying the city to call an election to give its citizens the opportunity to vote for or against a tax of approximately $36 a year to sustain the pool. Calling themselves “Save Tukwila Pool,” they enthusiastically launched a get-out-the-vote campaign, while reaching out to the community by attending the Tukwila Kids Day and Fourth of July events, knocking on doors, phone banking and raising money for campaign yard signs and brochures.  And with a successful “Yes” vote on Aug. 16, 2011, it was only the start.

Since then STP has continued to be involved in the community by phone banking for the successful Tukwila School District levy election and volunteering at the Tukwila Pantry food bank.  In their focus on developing community interest in the pool they’ve taken field trips to local pools to garner ideas for hosting events at the Tukwila Pool such as a Halloween “Pumpkin Plunge.”

The group reviewed the pool Capital Improvement Project and provided input on the types of renovations to be done, even providing volunteers to help paint the locker rooms to save money for other much needed repairs.  With the March 4 reopening of the Tukwila Pool, the STP is partnering with the pool staff and board of commissioners on the pool’s Grand Opening Celebration to be held in April.

Sustain Tukwila Pool committee members view the pool’s reopening as the first step toward building the necessary momentum to make a long-serving community pool a reality for Tukwila and surrounding neighborhoods.  STP continues to meet every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in the Friendz Café (corner of 42nd Avenue South and South 130th Street) conference room and welcomes anyone who would like to drop in.  Contact sustaintukwilapool@gmail.com or 206-495-1454 for more information.

Jacque Carroll, Tukwila

Jacque Carroll is communications officer for the Save the Tukwila Pool committee.

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