County OKs pool transfers to cities

Mirror staff

The Metropolitan King County Council has approved the transfer of the Kenneth Jones Pool to the city of Federal Way.

The transfer will take effect within 30 days of the agreement after being formally adopted by the council. A council committee passed the proposal last Thursday.

The pool, a popular recreation site, is among pools and parks the county planned to close as a cost-cutting measure next year. Transferring their control to local governments where they are located will keep them open to the public.

The City Council has approved funding in next yearŽ’s city budget for operating the Jones pool.

Other facilities whose ownership is being switched away from the county is the Mount Rainier pool. A one-year operating agreement has been reached with the cities of Des Moines, Normandy Park and SeaTac and the Highline School District.

The Des Moines City Council last Thursday accepted the cityŽ’s role in an inter-local agreement with the other entities that are taking on the Mount Rainier pool.

Councilman Richard Benjamin said city manager Tony Piasecki and a committee that worked on the issue were instrumental in keeping the pool available to the public.

Benjamin thanked the Mount Rainier Pool Ad Hoc Committee. He added that Ž“the hard work of the grassroots coalition folks, such as Julie Mitchell and Schell Ross, in our community made this possible.Ž”

Final action on the pool transfers was expected at MondayŽ’s County Council meeting.

Ž“We have been in a race against time to make sure these facilities continue to operate in their communities,Ž” said County Councilwoman Carolyn Edmonds, chairwoman of the Natural Resources, Parks and Open Space Committee that approved transfer agreements with Federal Way, Des Moines and seven other cities.

Edmonds said completing the agreements against tight deadlines is Ž“a remarkable achievement.Ž”

County officials, faced with a $52 million budget deficit next year, decided to transfer or mothball facilities located within cities. They said doing so would enable the county to focus on maintaining larger, regional facilities, such as King County Weyerhaueser Aquatic Center in Federal Way and the King County Fairgrounds in Enumclaw, and parks and pools located in unincorporated areas of the county where there is no other local government able to take control of them.

County-to-cities transfer agreements have been reached for Lea Hill Park and Auburndale Two Park to Auburn, Beaver Lake Park to Sammamish, Bridle Crest Trail to Redmond, Salmon Creek Waterway to Burien, Lake Sawyer Park to Black Diamond and Sammamish Cove Park to Issaquah.

Having the agreements in place when they were was vital because the facilities being transferred were slated for closure at the end of this year.

Funds the county would have spent closing the facilities will be used by the cities, providing a Ž“financial boost to keep (the facilities) operating,Ž” said Councilman Larry Phillips, chairman of the councilŽ’s budget committee.

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