The Jefferson County YMCA, under the umbrella of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, currently serves primarily working families through after-school care, summer camps, and an extensive summer meals program …
The Jefferson County YMCA, under the umbrella of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, currently serves primarily working families through after-school care, summer camps, and an extensive summer meals program at six locations around the county.
Working out of minimal facilities, the Jefferson County Y has already made a huge difference in our community.
Now the Y is working on a partnership with the City of Port Townsend, Jefferson County, and the Port Townsend School District to develop a fully equipped community wellness center at the Mountain View Commons in Port Townsend—an intergenerational gathering place with amenities similar to Y facilities in Sequim and Silverdale.
In consultation with the JeffCo Aquatic Coalition (JAC) and others, we are working on a design that incorporates a new 25-yard competition-length pool as well as a warmer recreation and therapy pool, hot tub, and sauna.
The proposal includes a mix of reuse and new construction. The existing gymnasium at Mountain View would be remodeled and connected to the new building, with the total size being about half that of the Silverdale Y.
This is not a “luxury facility,” but one right-sized for Jefferson County.
There is only one public pool in Jefferson County. It was built at Mountain View in 1963 by the school district as an L-shaped 20-yard “instructional pool” for its students. Over the years, its operation has shifted from the school to the county to the city as each jurisdiction has been challenged to keep it open.
In 1995, the City of Port Townsend assumed responsibility for the pool and has since made many improvements. As a result, use of the pool has tripled in the last few years. However, even with the increase in user revenue, the pool must be subsidized each year by hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Repairs to the pool’s liner, roof, and mechanical systems may be needed in the next decade. Studies show it could be as expensive to refurbish the old pool as it would be to build new. Do we as a community want to invest in an aging, too-small undersized pool or a new, right-sized aquatic facility?
The YMCA is a nonprofit with a mission to strengthen the communities we serve. We believe that collaborating to build a full-service Y at Mountain View, that includes replacing the aging and undersized public pool, is how the YMCA can best contribute to the long-term health and vitality of Jefferson County. Ys incorporating aquatic facilities are common around the country and have excellent track records of financial sustainability.
The winning combination of the Y’s membership model and the private fundraising capability of the Y’s nonprofit status can make this facility’s operating budget work without ongoing public support. And Y facilities are open to everyone and offer generous assistance to ensure no one is denied access for financial reasons.
What does our community need? A high-quality aquatic facility for swimmers of all ages, combined with services for families, senior fitness, and cancer survivor programs, and indoor recreation opportunities for teens and adults.
The new facility would provide a healthy, safe, and welcoming space for families and individuals, youth and seniors.
Our community can be stronger and healthier through a partnership with the YMCA.
We were proud to unveil preliminary plans for the Y wellness center last month at the Jefferson County Fair. You can see the beautiful architectural illustrations by local artist Mike Kowalski at www.OlympicPeninsulaYMCA.org/MountainViewY.
(David Engle is the board president of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, active in Rotary and the Port Townsend School of the Arts, and retired as Port Townsend’s Superintendent of Schools in 2016. Jeff Randall is a project coordinator for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, a 22-year county resident, and serves as a Commissioner for the Jefferson Public Utility District (PUD), representing Port Townsend.)