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Pools and partnerships making a splash in Tacoma; Park Board Notes June 2017

June 15, 2017


Once the spring rains have passed, I start thinking about swimming and the opening of Metro Parks Tacoma’s spraygrounds and outdoor pools for the summer. That is not to say I don’t enjoy the use of the pools in the “off season.” You can find me almost any early weekday morning swimming laps at People’s Community Center pool before work, and I have taken my 3-year-old granddaughter there on occasion.

This hidden jewel located in the Hilltop neighborhood, celebrated a re-opening in September 2016. During the first six months of the new People’s pool operations, more than 13,000 pool entries – you could call them swimmers – were recorded. That compares with a total of 5,000 throughout 2007, which was the last full year of operations at the original People’s pool, which shut down in 2008.

Open swims at the pool were pretty busy during the fourth quarter of 2016, just after the pool opened. People’s recorded 3,800 swimmers during open swim periods. That was about 500 more swimmers each month than were recorded at either East Side or Norpoint for the fourth quarter.

Activity during the pool’s first quarter of 2017 also was impressive. About 5,000 swimmers took advantage of open swim in January, February and March. That is more than double the number recorded for the same period at each of Metro Parks’ other indoor pools, Eastside and the Center at Norpoint. 

Also, we’re pretty excited about a growing relationship with Jason Lee Middle School. This year, we started Swim Club, an after-school collaboration with Tacoma Public Schools. It’s designed as a reward program for students with good behavior and in good academic standing. Two groups of kids come for an hour twice a week (3:30-4:30 p.m. on either Mondays and Tuesdays or Wednesdays and Thursdays). Metro Parks teaches swimming and swim team skills. The school district provides transportation, and pays Metro Parks staff costs. You may see more; Metro Parks and the school district are working on plans for still more programming. Stay tuned.

Back to now and what’s going on this summer. We offer swim lessons at seven pools during the summer: Eastside, Norpoint, People’s, Stewart Heights, Kandle and two high schools (Foss & Mt. Tahoma). Here is a fun fact that shows how important People’s pool is to Tacoma: We served 91,000 swimmers at six pools last summer, and with People's pool now open, that number is projected to increase to over 100,000 swimmers this summer! 

Andrea Smith was elected to the Board of Park Commissioners in 2011. Her fellow commissioners elected her as Board President on Jan. 9, 2017.