City officials plan for post-Yost future

  • By Chris Fyall Enterprise editor
  • Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:29pm

Yost Pool is an institution.

Surrounded by tall trees, green grass and not much else, a swim in Yost feels like a swim in the middle of a forest meadow.

The pool is unusual — and increasingly so.

As one of a shrinking number of outdoor public pools left in Washington, Yost Pool is fast becoming a relic.

Officials are taking notice.

The city is undertaking an $83,490 study that will examine Yost Pool, gather public opinion, and recommend options for a new or replacement aquatic facility.

The study was commissioned by the City Council in late October, despite early cost overruns. Officials initially budgeted only $60,000 for the study.

The new study will be the city’s second aquatic facility study since 1996.

But, Yost Pool’s age is forcing the city to act.

The study will look at possible locations for a new facility. Possibilities include the current Yost Pool location, the old Woodway High School location or somewhere on the waterfront, parks director Brian McIntosh said.

As it is, Yost Pool is fun, but it is also difficult.

It is now the city’s most expensive park, said Rich Lindsay, the city’s parks maintenance manager.

“In the summertime, it is just beautiful,” Lindsay said. “But it is getting old. Each year, something else goes (wrong).”

Built in 1973, the 270,000 gallon pool is also one of the city’s most popular parks.

That is despite being open only four months a year, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

As the years go by, the city needs to do more and more work to keep it open, Lindsay said.

Pumps need replacing, skimmer gates need repainting and pool walls need replastering.

This summer, the city had to send maintenance staff to the pool almost every day, he said. Sometimes they were there all day long.

That time is in addition to the three full weeks it takes city staff to get the pool open before Memorial Day, and the one day a month during Yost’s off-season when city staff run Yost’s systems, to keep things in shape, Lindsay said.

Signs of age are obvious.

For instance, the pool still uses its original boiler, which is now rusting. Experts have said a newer boiler, which could cost $80,000 or more, would also be much more energy efficient.

Even the pool’s windows and doors need replacing, Lindsay said.

But those costs are more than the city’s parks department can easily afford, he said.

Other, more obvious upgrades are also cost prohibitive, he said.

New pools have glitzy toys such as spray features and slides, and many swimmers expect those. Yost has none of that.

The study will examine community needs, taking into account the fact that a new YMCA just opened on Edmonds’ border with Shoreline and the city of Lynnwood’s ambitious aquatic plans, too, said McIntosh, the parks director.

“This is just the first step towards what we hope will be a solution to our aging facility,” he said in October. “But we would like to know what we could have, and what would be the cost of it.”

Reporter Chris Fyall: 425-673-6525 or

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