OLYMPIA – The Carole Ann Wald Memorial Pool at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore will close on Dec. 31, after the announcement by West Coast Aquatics that they cannot afford to continue operating the pool.
West Coast Aquatics, based in Mill Creek, signed a concession lease contract with the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission last May to run both the pool and the gymnasium at the park at 14445 Juanita Drive N.E., Kenmore.
State Parks will be exploring options for the future of the pool and gym.
The swimming pool was closed in late February when a former contract operator announced it could not afford to cover all operations costs of the pool. State Parks had been subsidizing the operation over several years and, due to state budget reductions required in the 2009-11 budget, the State Parks and Recreation Commission had determined it would be necessary to stop subsidizing service concessions in parks.
State Parks immediately began seeking other operators to manage the pool and gymnasium so they could remain open to the public. West Coast Aquatics came forward in the spring and agreed to incur costs previously covered by the state, including utility costs.
Under its new contract, West Coast Aquatics in May began offering organized pool time for groups and open public swim time, classes and lessons for children and adults and recently, due to the economic recession, determined they could not continue the Saint Edward operation.
"It’s a sad situation for the public and for West Coast Aquatics, but it’s understandable given the times we’re in," said Allison Alderman, northwest region operations manager. "We know that people love and use the pool, and even though we’re not in the swimming pool business, State Parks did its best to keep the pool open for many years after previous operators could not stay due to finances.
State Parks simply cannot cover this cost any longer, and we’re sorry that our partners are finding that to be the case as well," said Alderman.