Northwest NEWS

March 15, 1999

Editorial

Association is proceeding carefully

   A letter writer expressed concern in the March 1st Valley View about the ongoing efforts of the Valley Recreation Association.

   The Valley Recreation Association continues to foster the dream of building an indoor swimming pool in the lower Snoqualmie Valley in memory of Steve Rush and John Eastman. For over two decades, the Eastman-Rush Foundation sought to fulfill this dream. Extensive plans were made to build a large facility, but the fundraising for it never took off.

   About two years ago, it looked like the dream had died. Thankfully, some members of our Valley joined the Foundation's Board in an effort to reorganize and revitalize the dream.

   In many ways, this means we are starting just a little ahead of ground-zero. To mark this new beginning, a little over a year ago, the Foundation changed its name to the Valley Recreation Association. We have laid out the steps we need to take:

  1. Determine the exact swimming and recreation needs and wants in the lower valley. We call this a "Needs Assessment." Dreams are great, but do enough people in the Valley share the dream? The results of this study will determine what the recreation center should and should not include.

  2. Determine the financial feasibility of building a pool and recreation center. Can we actually raise the funds to build the type of facility the Needs Assessment points to? And if we build it, will there be enough income from use-fees to keep the facility running? This "Feasibility Study" will be crucial for obtaining foundation and corporate grants.

  3. Raise the construction funds, purchase the property, and start building.
   We plan to have Step 1 completed this year and Step 2 completed in 2000. If the Feasibility Study shows that the facility can be built and run, we hope to break ground no later than 2003.

   One of the things we have learned is that running a swimming pool is very expensive. Non-governmental organizations that have swimming pools almost always also offer other recreation and community activities to help support the whole program. But we don't want to build a facility the community doesn't need. That is why we will take Steps 1 and 2 so carefully.

   Another thing we have learned is that without a strong community base of support, it doesn't matter what the financial numbers show. So you can show your support now by volunteering to serve on the Board of Directors, donating money to the cause, and helping with two special mailings.

   For more information, please call me (425-333-4254) or write to the Valley Recreation Association; P.O. Box 522; Carnation, WA 98014-0522.

Jeffrey Spencer, president, Valley Recreation Association