Great news for swimmers — new pool may open July 1

The vision of our city and county leaders and their efforts to construct a community swimming pool is nearing fruition.

Construction on the Honey Lake Valley Community Pool is nearly complete, and the Honey Lake Valley Recreation Authority is expected to take possession of the $2.75 million facility in the next two weeks, and the community could be swimming in the pool by July 1.

It’s been nearly 13 years since the old Roosevelt Pool was closed due to safety issues, and over the years several unsuccessful attempts were made to find a way to build a new pool.

Former Lassen County Supervisor Jim Chapman and former Susanville Mayor Brian Wilson came up with a plan in which the county and the city would each contribute $200,000 per year to the project.

A new joint powers agreement between the county and the city was signed, and the project began slowly moving forward. The authority members visited a number of potential sites around town and finally decided upon the old Roosevelt Pool site, partially due to its proximity to the city’s geothermal resource on South Street that could be used to heat the pool.

The road got rocky. With no credit history, the interest on a JPA loan proved prohibitive, and the county and the city each found a way to contribute $1.2 million for the construction of the pool, and the yearly contribution dropped from $200,000 to $80,000. That funding will provide for the operation of the pool for the next few years.

They say watching government work is like watching someone make sausage, and the JPA meetings exposed the truth behind that generalization.

The JPA board, comprised of two members of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors, two members from the Susanville City Council and a public member debated and considered many different pool construction features.

Hancock worked with the contractor and due to budget constraints some items had to be removed — things such as landscaping, a diving board and a timing system for competitive swim meets. The bathhouse got smaller, the size of the deck was reduced, but gradually the modified project moved forward step by step. Certainly the new pool is not the one originally envisioned or one that met every member of the JPA’s expectations. Most of the time government moves forward through compromise, and the story of the new pool is no exception.

It’s time to put those old wounds behind us and enjoy the new pool. A decade or so ago many proclaimed a new community pool was the highest priority among city and county residents. A little hyperbole perhaps, but local children wanted a pool so badly they started a fund drive of their own — Pennies for the Pool.

It’s time for the community to acknowledge the vision and determination put forward by Chapman and Wilson and all those who have served on the Honey Lake Valley Recreation Authority board. It’s time to thank the city council and the board of supervisors for providing the funding to get the pool built and seeing it has an operational budget to get started. It’s time for the community to recognize the effort put forward by Jared Hancock and the city staff who have worked so tirelessly behind the scenes to make this happen.

It’s time to celebrate our new community pool and offer a heartfelt thank you and well done.