Woodland Pool Committee eyes YMCA project first

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Rick Bannan/rick@thereflector.com

Those wondering what the Woodland Community Swimming Pool Committee (WCSPC) did in the wake of a failed bond measure last year has an answer, and the focus is on securing a fully funded YMCA facility outside of taxpayer contributions before even thinking about returning to the ballot for pooling money.

A letter from WCSPC President Benno Dobbe dated February 2018 outlined the current plan to focus now on making the YMCA facility the committee’s first priority. The goal of a pool in Woodland was still there, but in an effort to move things forward, the focus was on what the committee can do with the funding they can get.

In November, the Woodland Swimming Pool and Recreation District, a separate entity from the pool committee, was denied its request for taxpayer funding to repay the bonds because the ballot measure failed to receive a supermajority. of voice.

“I personally feel very strongly that the community still loves having a swimming pool,” Dobbe said, explaining that some confusion over the concept as well as the fact that no tax increase measures have been approved by voters of Woodland in the November election led to a rejection of what was presented.

As for why focusing on the YMCA center without a pool made sense, Dobbe gave a few reasons. One of the biggest benefits for taxpayers inside the Recreation District, a special district sharing Woodland Public Schools boundaries, is that unlike the November ballot measure, no money from bonds funded by taxpayers would be necessary.

Instead, funding for the YMCA would come from a variety of sources, including state grants, money from local foundations as well as funding from the New Markets Tax Credit, Dobbe said in the letter. This was in addition to local philanthropic donations and in-kind donations.

Dobbe also said that by focusing on something that can move without needing taxpayer support, real progress against the pool committee’s overall goal would be visible to the public through the demolition of the former Lakeside Motel, excavation and actual construction, providing a concrete example. as the project progressed.

“I think people will be like ‘wow, it’s happening, and we’d love to see this pool facility added to that,'” Dobbe remarked.

Currently, the proposed YMCA land is owned by WCSPC. Dobbe said that if the fundraising goal is met, the property would eventually be transferred to the YMCA who would own and operate the property.

Dobbe said he contacted the project’s donors about how their funds would be used under the new program, offering to earmark their donations only for building the pool. Thankfully, none of the donors asked for that, he said, letting their contributions help raise YMCA funding.

Although focusing on the YMCA at this time, Dobbe said when funding for the project is secured, the committee could then consider bringing back a voter pooling obligation. Dobbe said the subsequent bond would likely be lower per ratepayer. Estimates made last year on the November bond had an increase of about 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The idea was that the potential pool would be built on land owned by Dobbe and his wife Klazina, which he said would be donated upon successful completion of a pool bond, making it owned by the recreation district. He said the YMCA had agreed to maintain and operate the facility and that at the end of the bond term an option for the association to purchase the land would be offered.

Dobbe said Hope was of a similar configuration to the one purchased in 2017, with reduced rates for residents of the Recreation District as they helped fund the facility.

With the shift to focusing on the YMCA, Dobbe wrote that the goal was to begin construction by 2020. In an interview, he estimated the project would total around $8.5 million.

Although the YMCA will seek funds from other sources, it will be up to voters to decide if they want to pay bonds on a pool. The YMCA, however, would be through committee work and partnerships apart from more taxes.

“No one in the district needs to feel obligated to pay for the YMCA; they don’t,” Dobbe remarked.

The WCSPC is planning an open house regarding the new plan in May, with an official announcement of the date and location coming next month, Dobbe said.

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