Aquatics center may be on the way

Aquatics center may be on the way
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - It's hard to imagine in January, but more waterslides and pools could be coming to the Tri-Cities. The issue, will you pay for it?

It will be a ballot measure this fall looking to raise to local sales tax.
Analysts think it would raise $35 million dollars to bring an aquatic center to the Tri-Cities.

Randy Willis is member of the Tri-Cities Regional Aquatic Task Force. He said, "It certainly isn't as important to some politicians as it is to the general public."

It's why Randy Willis has been pushing for this project for more than a decade. He's the last original member of the task force.

That group has raised more than $20 thousand dollars to pay for the design and concept.

"Once people can see something and picture it in their minds and they have a picture, then they have something to talk about and they have something to dream about," he said.

Randy hopes your dreams will translate to dollars through a tenth of a cent tax increase.

The current plans for the aquatic center are at least seven years old. Technology and prices have changed over the years so of course those plans are going to change. That will be easier to do now that a possible location has been identified and a budget attached to the project.

Getting that location has been the issue. A chunk of land off Sandifur in Pasco may be home to the center. Right off the interstate, it's got the space to attract large crowds.

Folks we talked to are all for the project.

Joe Sterba expects he'd take his grand kids to the center.
He fondly remembers a waterpark in Kennewick in the 80's.

"I'm sure they'd come and play and I'd be there, Papa Joe, party time," he said.

Randy is hopeful the tax increase will pass. He's planning to raise $40 thousand dollars to help with election costs.

He said, "I think our goal is to get out and get in neighborhoods and talk to people."

Trying to rally the troops now that the longtime dream may be a striking reality.

The regional public facilities board will decide next month when to put the measure in front of voters.

It could come either in August or November.