Lynnwood's renovated public pool is full to the brim
Lynnwood's renovated pool drawing huge crowds since reopening
Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Benjamin Weisenfeld, 5, gets a mouthful of water at the Lynnwood Recreation Center Pool on Thursday. The pool was crowded Thursday, and reached full capacity during the free swim.
Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Kelli Gilmore, 9, and Derek Haas, 2, of Everett, ride on an innertube guided by Derek's mother, Mindy Haas, through the Lazy River section of the Lynnwood Recreation Center Pool on Thursday. This was the first time they came, and they loved it.
Sarah Weiser / The Herald
Kaelin Shurts, 3, of Everett, floats through the Lazy River section of the Lynnwood Recreation Center Pool on Thursday. Kaelin's father, Pete Shurts (left), helped guide the innertube.
They were just two of the 30 people hoping to cool off by going swimming.
"I thought the reason why they built the pool and expanded it was so they could accommodate more people," said Todorov, 22, who lives in Everett.
They arrived at the remodeled center 15 minutes after the start of an open-swim session and the pool was already too full to allow anyone else inside. Todorov and Nguyen, 23, of Mountlake Terrace, would have to wait another hour to get in and that would leave them with only about an hour for swimming.
The renovated recreation center has been drawing crowds -- and creating huge lines -- since it reopened April 28, aquatics supervisor Bill Haugen said.
"We have nine open swims a week and they've all been full," he said.
A maximum of 300 swimmers is allowed in the pool at one time, according to health code, Haugen said. As large groups leave, staff can allow more people into sessions. Nearly 3,000 swimmers have been part of the sessions every week.
Swim lessons also are full, Haugen said. They've nearly doubled the number of kids in swim lessons from 600 in five-week classes before the renovation to 1,100 after, he said. Other programs at the pool including senior swimming classes and a fitness rehabilitation water class also are attracting more people.
"I really thought when we expanded we would meet the needs of the community," Haugen said. "We were always having a wait list and we still have a wait list. We did expand so more people could swim. We didn't build Wild Waves either."
The expanded $24.5 million center features three pools, two hot tubs and two giant water slides. The renovation project was financed by bonds funded by a 3 percent increase in the city's utility tax on telephones, cellphones and pagers, and a 1 percent cable utility tax that both went into effect in January 2009.
At least a couple of other south county pools have seen a dip in attendance since Lynnwood opened.
The Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion less than four miles away from the Lynnwood pool has seen attendance drop this summer, said Linda McKee, Mountlake Terrace's aquatics supervisor.
Attendance during weekday open-swim sessions averaged between 150 and 175 swimmers last summer. Those numbers have dropped to between 75 and 100 swimmers, she said.
"We've stayed really strong since their opening especially with our swim lessons and programming," McKee said. "We've seen a little dip in our open swim numbers but we anticipated that."
Fewer people also have visited outdoor Yost Pool so far this summer, said Todd Cort, recreation coordinator for Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
"With this lovely weather and the (Lynnwood) pool opening we expected to lose some of our participants," he said.
At Lynnwood, aquatics supervisor Haugen said the number of people showing up comes as a surprise. The center's staff, he said, is planning ways to let more people play in the space that more than doubled. Come fall, the pool schedule is expected to offer more open sessions that last an hour and 45 minutes instead of the 2 1/2 hour sessions, Haugen said.
"We've realized the opportunity to play is more important than the length of play you get," he said.
Arriving early also helps. Monica Holdridge of Shoreline discovered that when she visited the center for the first time with her children and some friends. They arrived 45 minutes before the start of the session to find a long line had already formed.
"We cheered when we got our tickets," she said.
Everett resident Kaylee Eke, 10, waited outside with family and friends for a chance to be one of the last swimmers allowed into one of the afternoon sessions. The only way she could get in is if people left early.
She lucked out, got into the pool and headed straight for the slides.
They'd get 45 minutes to swim and that would be plenty of time, said Kristen Eke, Kaylee's mother.
"They already have their swimsuits on," she said. "It's worth the wait."
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If You Go
Daily swim passes at the Lynnwood Recreation Center at 18900 44th Ave. W are $3.50 for children ages 2 to 12 and for seniors age 62 and older; $4 for ages 13 to 17; and $4.50 for adults ages 18 to 61. More information about swim passes can be found on the city of Lynnwood website, www.ci.lynnwood.wa.us, or by calling the center at 425-670-5732.
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