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Sandy Pool Demolition To Be Completed

By Adrian Knowler

Sandy Pool Demolition To Be Completed

The Olin Y. Bignall Aquatic Center will be completely demolished and the site readied for potential redevelopment by the end of April, according to Sandy Parks and Recreation Department officials.
The pool facility was slated for demolition by the city council, but elected officials opted not to replace it with a new aquatic center, citing cost as the reason.

The facility was purchased by the city in 2018 and operated for about a year before the decision was made to close the pool due to significant electrical and plumbing issues and high operational costs. The building was constructed in 1963, and much of the infrastructure had deteriorated, according to a video published by the city.

The building also needed a new roof and improved wheelchair access, officials said.

After it was closed, the city undertook an evaluation of the facility and found that repairing the issues didn’t make financial sense, considering that the aquatics center wasn’t large enough for Sandy’s long term recreational needs.

To pay for a larger, new facility, the city would need to raise property taxes or create a special funding district, officials say.

The facility recommended in the 2021 report would cost an estimated $26.6 million, and an additional $1 million every two years to pay for operations, on top of fees charged to swimmers.

Parks and Recreation Department head Rochelle Anderholm-Parsch said she understands that many in the community are feeling the loss of the pool.

“We as the city of Sandy understand the importance of aquatics and we don’t want to minimize the importance of the Olin center to the community,” she said in an interview. She said that swimmers should consider taking the plunge at the Mount Hood Athletic Club, or at pool facilities in Gresham or Oregon City.
“We’re happy to connect people with those resources, if they need,” she said. The city is working on a program to help Sandy residents access nearby pools, according to the video published by the department.
10 acres adjoining the pool facility campus is currently being developed into a park that will feature a 20,000 square-foot skate pump track, among other recreational opportunities, Anderholm-Parsch said.

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