Tukwila, MPD working on transfer of Tukwila Pool operations

The City of Tukwila notified the Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District in June that it would cease operating the pool effective on Jan. 1, citing the need to focus its resources elsewhere. On July 19, the district’s commissioners decided that the district would operate the pool, rather than contract for services with an outside agency.

The Tukwila Pool offers programming for all ages.

The City of Tukwila and the Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District are working on a plan to transition Tukwila Pool operations from the city to the park district.

The city notified the park district in June that it would cease operating the pool effective on Jan. 1, citing the need to focus its resources elsewhere. On July 19, the district’s commissioners decided that the district would operate the pool, rather than contract for services with an outside agency.

Earlier, the city transferred ownership of the former county Forward Thrust pool to the park district. The land underneath the pool is owned by the Tukwila School District.

The park district has contracted with the City of Tukwila to provide day-to-day operations of the pool since it was created by a public vote in 2011. Now, pool staff is employed by the city, but once the transition is complete, the park district will employee the staff.

The details of the transition are being worked out, said commission president De’Sean Quinn, but “the expectation is that it will be as smooth as possible because of the interest in maintaining a community pool.”

Members of the Tukwila City Council also serve as the park district commissioners; Quinn is also president of the City Council.

Tukwila City Administrator David Cline told the City Council at its July 28 meeting that the administration’s intent “is for a clean and smooth and respectful transition.”

The City Council and the park district commissioners have approved a new interlocal agreement to operate the pool, although the indication is that the agreement is mostly moot because of the transition under way.

The decision to transfer operations was made by the city’s administration; the City Council didn’t vote on the matter.

Two council members, Joe Duffie and Verna Seal, voted against the interlocal agreement.

Seal said at a council meeting the city has done an “amazing job” running the pool. Duffie said the public wasn’t adequately involved in the decision-making.

The draft transition plan includes a multi-page list of details involving the handing off of the pool to the park district. The issues range from payroll to setting up bank accounts to commissioner meetings to transferring records.

The park district will hire staff to run the pool; current employees have been encouraged to apply.

One of the key jobs is an aquatics manager, who will then hire lifeguards and other staff.

“First and foremost is getting a qualified aquatics manager to basically run the operations of the pool, someone who is very astute in what’s involved in pool operations,” said Quinn.

Overall, under park district operations, Quinn said he hopes “we don’t see many changes in the programming. We are in the position to try to make sure those things don’t happen.”

The park district might try different ways to get more people in the water, something that city has been successful doing in the last two years, he said.

“We are on the road to being successful,” he said.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

Community members who would like to assist in the transition are invited to contact Jennafer Price Cargill, executive director of the Tukwila Pool Metropolitan Park District.  She can be reached by email at JPCargill@TukwilaPool.org or by phone at 206-678-4937.

 

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