Ketchikan Pool Bond Vote
By Doug Barry
June 22, 2009
Recent letters about K-town's bond proposal for a new pool caught
my eye. Mr. Bylund's view seems extremely shortsided given the
maritime location, industries and recreational activities that
define the region. Dave Kiffer's letter has a more pragmatic
angle and reminded me of my early years growing up in Ketchikan.
I remember taking swimming lessons at the silty, murky tidal
pool that used to be at Rotary/Bugge Beach, usually on cold,
drizzly "summer" days; back then there was no "real"
swimming pool in the area except for the one at Bell Island Hot
Kiffer is right; young people and adults died by drowning in
our local waters every year, including a few of our close family
I was in high school during the late 60s and early 70s and remember
travelling to Sitka for a regional basketball tournament in 1969.
We were excited to experience Sitka's new indoor Olympic sized
community pool smack dab in the dead of winter. We wondered
why our smaller neighbor to the north had such a great facility
and Ketchikan did not. We felt second-class.
As a result, I soon became an advocate for building a pool in
Ketchikan and participated in the effort that started to grow
to get a pool built. I had the chance to speak to Ketchikan
Rotary my junior year to plea our group's point of view to local
business leaders. I remember that the city's mayor back then
was in the audience. He opposed the expenditure. Ironically,
his business was located dockside, served boating clientele and
at least one of his sons (a friend of mine) didn't know how to
swim at the time. I brought that up at the luncheon and remember
looking over at the Mayor; he nodded and winked in acknowledgement.
I don't recall if he changed his position on the issue, though.
Finally, some momentum began to build and two pools eventually
were built -- one at Kayhi and another at what used to be Bear
Valley Elementary -- that nearly 30 years ago. From what I've
read, sadly only one remains.
A community pool provides recreation and fitness opportunities,
safety training, a competitive sport that builds community pride
and individual self-esteem and something healthy and productive
to do indoors on rainy days. If it happens to help save one
life, it's well worth it. I'm sure the pool(s) built back in
the 70s felt like a god-send at the time and many have benefited
from its existence. It would be a crying shame if the city reverted
back to the lame situation that existed 40 years ago, and it
would be terribly irresponsible. I say "go for it";
otherwise, you might regret it.
About: " Born & raised
in Ketchikan, swimming lessons at Bugge Beach tide pool, advocate
for community pool in late 60s."
Received June 22, 2008 - Published
June 22, 2009
POOL BOND VOTE by Ken Bylund
Ketchikan Pool Bond Vote By Dave Kiffer
Ketchikan Pool Bond Vote by Ken Bylund
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