The Prescott Public Pool will receive needed repairs and upgrades after the Walla Walla County Board of Commissioners recently approved the approximately $125,000 project.
This rural Walla Walla County facility is the only operational swimming pool in the Touchet River Valley, serving Dayton, Waitsburg, Prescott and surrounding areas, according to documents provided to county commissioners.
The project is expected to be completed by fall 2023, with work taking place in the spring and fall to avoid closures during the summer operating season. It will be the first major upgrade to the pool since 1990, necessitated by a leak discovered in 2021.
Last year, the Walla Walla County Community Health Department notified the Prescott Joint Parks and Recreation District, which operates the pool, that health officials had discovered a leak that could cause erosion and threaten the structural integrity of the pool and surrounding facilities.
The district turned to the Port of Walla Walla for help in funding the repairs, proposing a $125,000 project to fix the leak.
In addition, the project would upgrade the pool’s filtration and chemical distribution systems, make repairs to the pump room, receive a structural engineer’s assessment, improve lighting, update security electric, upgrade the bathhouse and pool office and improve access to facilities. .
The port has agreed to spend a portion of its share of the sales tax fund on county economic development, although it is required to receive final approval from the County Board of Commissioners to do so.
The Sales Tax Fund for Economic Development was established by the Legislative Assembly in 1999. It returns 0.09% of state sales taxes generated locally to the county for economic development infrastructure projects. The county controls the funds, but under a revised 2005 interlocal agreement, two-thirds of the money goes through the port.
The jobs created by the pool are seasonal, with only one office manager part-time year round.
However, the Prescott Joint Parks and Recreation District insisted the project was worth the investment, saying it was Prescott’s largest employer of young adults and pool patrons came “from all over the North-west”.
Although Prescott is the smallest community in Walla Walla County, it has the longest continuously operating swimming pool in eastern Washington, according to documents provided to county commissioners.
The recreation district also signed a service agreement with the Walla Walla YMCA, which will staff the pool during the 2022 season and run services such as swimming lessons.
The Recreation District also partners with the Prescott School District to provide qualified teens 15 or older with free transportation to the Walla Walla YMCA and free lifeguard training. Those who successfully complete the training will be offered employment at the Prescott pool, recreation district officials wrote.
The nearby communities of Dayton and Waitsburg haven’t opened their pools to the public for several years due to repair and maintenance costs and pandemic-related issues.