I feel fortunate each day to work in a beautiful facility with amazing people. It gives me great energy every time that I walk through the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District Natatorium, featuring a beautiful lap pool, warm-water learner pool and spa. This month, our aquatic facility will shut down for a major renovation. The main pool, more than 30 years old, needs to be replastered. This is a major construction project!
The district has worked hard on informing our members and regular patrons about the upcoming closure and are offering several options for continuing memberships during that time. for more information on those options, please contact the pool front desk at 503-738-3311.
In the meantime, I want to thank the foresight and uphill slog that the founding members of the district had and endured to see the construction of the pool through. There many in the community who recognized the great need for a public pool to help educate both children and adults and teach important water safety skills. Those individuals worked hard to convince the naysayers to both create the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District — nearly 50 years ago —and construct the Sunset Pool.
Since its construction, the pool has served an important role in education and recreation in South Clatsop County. Growing up here, I remember swim lessons, school swim lessons, birthday parties and coming swimming on Wednesday nights with my Scout troop. Now as a grown adult, I’ve seen my own two children flourish and gain confidence after learning to swim here!
In 2016, the district served 944 children through our swim lesson program and we expect that number to increase in 2017! Our school swim lesson program serves children from Jewell, Warrenton and three of the schools in the Seaside School District. We’re home to the Seaside Swim Team, a youth team full of roughly 25 dedicated swimmers. The Sunset Pool is also the home for the Seaside High School swim team.
But youth and children aren’t the only population we serve! There are hundreds of dedicated lap swimmers in our community that blow my mind each time with their athleticism, speed and stamina in swimming the pool, often several times a week. We offer 20 water fitness classes per week as well, appealing to a broad audience to try something fun and new in the comfort of the warm water pool. Our local hospital uses the magical healing power of water to help individuals rehabilitate after having surgery. It is truly a terrific place where miracles and amazing things happen every day!
This is all sounding like a commercial for my employer and the pool. However, my point is different. Go back 50 years to the formation of SEPRD and the early reflections of building a pool in this community. The population of Seaside during those early years was likely somewhere around 4,000, a number significantly smaller than our population today!
Did those recreation pioneers have a vision of what was to come? Could they possibly have understood the impact that their decisions and actions would have on this community?
I am thankful for those dedicated individuals and for the members of our community that continue to believe in our district and our programs. While we apologize for the inconvenience that the closure may have, we feel it is a small price to pay, for having a wonderfully resurfaced pool when we reopen on Monday, Dec. 4!
Skyler Archibald is the executive director of the Sunset Empire Park & Recreation District