Group rallies need for new indoor pool
With the Park City Schools Aquatic Center busting at its seams, a group led by former Olympian Summer Sanders says there is a need for a new indoor pool in town. And they’re hoping to grab the public’s support.
Todd Klarich, aquatic center director, said the 25-meter indoor pool, located at Ecker Hill Middle School, is overcrowded and unable to serve much more than the school district’s needs. There is little time or space left over for swim and water polo teams, and by and large, the public is left high and dry, with limited open swim time.
"With the growth of Park City, the current pool space will not be sufficient to meet the growing needs," he said in an e-mail response to The Park Record.
It is for that reason a group has formed to get a 50-meter indoor pool built in town that would be used primarily for competitive swimming, but could also be used for recreation and physical therapy. Sanders, who won two gold medals in swimming events at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, said a lack of swimming space is not a problem she’s ever encountered before.
"Imagine if your child wanted to play soccer one league up and was capable of it, but there just wasn’t room on the field for that team," she said. "It’s a fabulous problem to have, because I love the fact that people are enjoying the sport of swimming. But when you have water polo players waiting and warming up in the lobby because their practice doesn’t start until later and they can’t fit in the pool, we have a need for this. And the need is the reason we’re so passionate about getting this done."
The group is still in the beginning stages of formulating a plan on what a new pool might cost or where it would be located. One possibility, Sanders said, is near the current pool, on land owned by the Park City School District. The group planned to talk to the school district about the possibility of building a pool there, but before the holiday break, superintendent Ember Conley said she hadn’t yet heard from them.
As to how the pool would be funded, the group envisions using a combination of public and private money. However, Sanders said the group is "just at the beginning stages" of figuring that out and is working on a formal proposal that would paint a clearer picture of what it would take to get the pool built.
Chris McDonald, who joined the group because he has children who swim, said he is hopeful other members of the community see the need for the pool as well.
"We’re passionate about it, and we need to make the other folks in the community realize there’s benefit to it for them, as well, even as non-competitive swimmers," he said, adding a new pool would ease the strain on the current pool. "We want to make this economically feasible, present it to the public and then build the pool, instead of build it and then try to make it work."
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