Recreation Center Debate

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On a day with temperatures nearing the 90's, one of Marietta's most popular attractions is Jackson Park's pool.

But it's been known for some time that the pool is in need of either replacement or repairs. While there's been talk of a new pool, another option is a new recreation center, which could include a pool.

"This pool was built in the 1960's," says swimming pool manager Maria Schilling. "We are willing to keep this pool open as long as it takes, but it just costs more and more each year we try to open it. It would be more efficient just to build a new pool."

The estimated cost of the center, including the pool, is slightly more than $1 million. But how much the recreation center costs is just one element of the debate. Another element has to do with plans by Washington State Community College and the Marietta YMCA to build a rec center of its own.

'We need a pool, we need gym space, and it's not going to conflict with them," says Mayor Joe Matthews. "It will be an enhancement to each other if we can do our own thing, and offer more to the public."

But Carson Miller, the outgoing president of Washington State Community College isn't so sure.

"It's very difficult for community folks to commit the funds to contribute to a major project on our campus for the YMCA, and also have looming over them the possibility of a tax hike," Miller says.

An increase in the city income tax is one method discussed to finance the center. But Mayor Matthews adds the city may also seek public grants, and even the Smith Trust Fund, as another source.

Discussion on the plans for the center is still going on.