Due to strong support from Pasco and Franklin County, city officials are ready to look at giving a public aquatic center another try. Pictured is the regional facility that was rejected in 2013.

In 2013 the Tri-Cities Regional Public Facilities District proposed an aquatic center project that would have been located between Road 68 and near Road 100 off I-182. However, it was defeated by voters, and the bulk of the land is now occupied by the new McCurley Subaru Dealership.

But strong support from Pasco and Franklin County, and a new feasibility study, reportedly show the area is big enough to support such a facility. Kennewick and Richland voters were against the idea.

According to the study, performed by Ballard King Associates of Colorado, it's very unusual that a metro area with over 220,000 people (the Tri-Cities) doesn't have a single indoor or non-profit pool facility.

While the study admitted there are a number of public outdoor pools in the area, some with amenities such as splash pads or other water features, the study says when it comes to indoor year-round swimming, the private facilities have had to take on the role of providing that service. It especially comes into play for area high schools and other competitive swimming endeavors.

And, it points out, none of the outdoor features at the present pools are close to the water slides and amenities found at the water parks in Hermiston and Moses Lake.

The Pasco Public Facilities District will meet Tuesday, the 19th, and get their first look at proposed project ideas. There are three different plans, all which include and indoor and outdoor water facility. Different options would add either a gym, fitness and group exercise areas, a community center, and even daycare.  Overall, such a project is estimated to be in the $20 million dollar range.

City officials say all this information is very preliminary, and any potential public vote would be at least a year away.

The price tag is just within the bonding capacity of the Public Facilities District, but would require a public vote on a sales tax to provide the money to keep it going.

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