City of Port Townsend considering building new health and wellness center

Posted 11/30/22

The city of Port Townsend has submitted a “request for qualifications” for the potential construction of a new health and wellness center.

The request is for a consultant to provide …

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City of Port Townsend considering building new health and wellness center

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The city of Port Townsend has submitted a “request for qualifications” for the potential construction of a new health and wellness center.

The request is for a consultant to provide the city with details on concept planning, design services, and community engagement for input on the potential new facility. Details include the location, an aquatics component, and financial and operation plans for the center.

While information on the potential cost of the project, the future of Mountain View Pool, and other details have yet to be shared, the city will gather much more information through responses to the request.

Officially titled the Port Townsend Healthier Together Community Health and Wellness Center, the need for the new facility centers around the millions of dollars used in recent years to maintain and repair Port Townsend’s main recreation center, the Mountain View Commons on Blaine Street.

The purpose of this project is, “to provide long-term infrastructure and opportunities for improving community health and wellness by building on previous collaborative efforts and meeting the evolving needs of our community,” a segment of city documents reads.

Plans for the property are still preliminary, as the city is in the first phase of planning, which entails reviewing existing information and current conditions, forming focus groups, and starting up financial planning.

PROBLEMATIC POOL

While this isn’t the first time the city has considered building a new health, wellness, and aquatics facility, the primary reasoning for the new center pivots around the degenerating state of Mountain View Pool’s infrastructure over the past 10 or so years, according to city documents.

“The current Mountain View Pool, circa 1963, is beyond its useful life and is being operated and maintained by the city and the [YMCA of Jefferson County],” according to an eight-page outline of the project. “The city continues to invest in the pool to extend its useful life, but this will not continue to be sufficient for optimal, up-to-date needs and the growth of the community in east Jefferson County.”

Since 2001, the city and partnering organizations have made numerous repairs to Mountain View and attempted pool facility upgrades and plans for a new center.

City plans for a new health and wellness center from 2008, 2013, and 2016 fell through, but now city officials are stressing that the constant maintenance costs for Mountain View Pool are inefficient in the long run, and a new facility is inevitable.

“The current pool is in poor condition and is on its last legs,” noted a report on the project on the city’s website. “To continue efforts and funding to keep the Mountain View Pool operational is not a prudent use of city funds.”

A NEW FACILITY

While a new facility has been discussed by local and city officials for decades, the spark plug for the idea recently came after a community health assessment from the city, Jefferson Healthcare, and Jefferson Public Health in 2019. The assessment incorporated a robust community input process and listed physical activity and health problems as two of the top five challenges to the local community.

The city has collaborated with Jefferson County, Jefferson Healthcare, the Port Townsend School District, Olympic Peninsula YMCA, and the Jefferson County Aquatics Coalition for the project.

“To build a new facility for the community, it will take public, private, nonprofit, and residents to assist with this effort,” city documents said. “The city seeks to work with and influence partners to collaborate on this massive effort for this community for our collective and enduring benefit.”

PROJECT PLANNING

There are set to be five phases of plans for the health and wellness center, with the city currently in Phase 1.

“The planning effort will be a multi-phased effort culminating in a final report and implementation plan that will be transmitted to each public entity, the community, and stakeholders,” city documents stated. “It will identify next steps for implementation and the roles and responsibilities of each public entity.”

Similar to usage of a stakeholder committee for the poplar removal along Sims Way and current actions with the Port Townsend Golf Course, the pool planning will include a stakeholder group.

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  • MargeS

    A few questions. Port Townsend School District #50 owns the property that Mountain View School was on and now is leased by the City of Port Townsend. The property was owned by the U.S. Government before 1963 and was used for military housing, called Olympic View Housing. The buildings were later moved by barge to other locations in 1953. Fort Worden was closing so no further need for military housing. The school district either bought the property in 1963. According to JC property tax information they still own the property. My question is will the city buy the property or continue to lease it from the school district? Where would the money come from to pay for the new facility, PT Property taxes, or school district property taxes? lots of research needs to be done before this is presented to the residents of Jefferson County.

    Thursday, December 1, 2022 Report this