Astoria will share pools with Seaside swimmers

People from Seaside will be able to use the Astoria Aquatic Center while the Sunset Pool is closed for repair work.

The Astoria Aquatic Center will get a boost in traffic in October after the City Council approved an agreement Monday that will allow people from Seaside’s park and recreation district to use the facility.

The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District is closing its Sunset Pool for repair and renovation projects from October through December. During this time, members will be able to use Astoria’s facilities instead. The district will pay Astoria for the services provided.

Mayor Arline LaMear said it is already difficult to reserve a lane at the Aquatic Center and asked if the parks department is worried about even more congestion with the new agreement.

Parks Director Angela Cosby agreed that the fall and winter months can be particularly busy, especially in the evenings when local swim teams are practicing. She said she encourages residents to come early to avoid the crowd. Parks staff plan to talk with Seaside’s swim teams to better coordinate practice times while the Sunset Pool is closed.

In other business:

• The City Council amended an agreement with the Verna S. Oller Aquatic Trust, which allows residents in the southern portion of Washington state’s Pacific County to use the Astoria Aquatic Center. The trust covers the drop-in costs.

However, managers of the trust reported that a handful of Pacific County pool users go to the Aquatic Center so often that their daily “drop-in” charges for a month exceed the cost for a regular monthly pass, an unsustainable situation for the trust.

The amendment would make it so that Pacific County individuals who visit the pool more than eight times a month would have their extra visits rolled into a monthly pass — $44 for youth or seniors, $60 for adults, slightly more than what Astoria residents pay.

Cosby said the trust pays the Aquatic Center $58,000 to $60,000 each year. “So it is in our best interest to keep a good working relationship with them.”

• City councilors approved a contract for $30,000 of repairs to Astoria’s Bear Creek Dam. A recent study revealed that the dam does not need to be further modified to protect against seismic failure, but some work is needed to improve the structure and associated systems.

Dam Maintenance Management will repair a barrel gate and 63-year-old valves. The same contractor repaired and rebuilt other critical valves at the dam last year.