Mark Mueller and Melissa Fondell came before the Bellevue City Council Monday night to ask permission to explore building a new municipal pool at Cole Park.
The two said they had formed a committee and wanted the city’s blessing to proceed.
This, after the council voted 3-2 two weeks ago to approve a tax increment financing and pool incentive agreement with Offshore Enterprises, L.L.C., the group that purchased the Baymont Hotel and Offshore complex from A.J. Speigel late last year.
Offshore Enterprises is currently constructing an aquatics center consisting of a 6,000 square-foot pool, large furnished sun deck, shower house, snack bar, swim pond with aqua park, large jump pad and playground at the Offshore complex in north Bellevue.
The agreement states that beginning June 20, 2022, the City of Bellevue will pay Offshore $30,000 each year to pay for discounts for residents receiving a discounted rate for use of the amenities at the aquatic center.
As a result of the agreement, the current 1965 municipal pool at Cole Park would essentially be closed. The news has drawn the ire of several Bellevue parents and residents.
Mueller, who had chaired a Pool Committee in 2006-2007 to build a new pool at a cost of $3 million, said that he simply wanted to put the numbers and prices together using some past data from prior efforts to see if there is interest.
If the committee thinks the plan is viable and feasible, then they would proceed to try to sell the idea to the community.
Two prior votes to build a new municipal pool in Bellevue failed. The first was in September of 2004 when a public referendum failed by a 39 percent (265 yes votes) to 61 percent (422 no votes) margin.
In April of 2006, a second referendum was much closer, but still failed to reach the 60 percent threshold. The totals at the time were 54 percent (298 yes votes) to 46 percent (254 no votes).
“A lot of citizens still want to have a pool in town, so I just want to put some numbers together and see what happens and I am asking for your permission to do so,” said Mueller. “The vote in 2006 was only 44 shy of passing, so there could be some interest.”
The new Aquatics Center at Offshore may be completed by this July, according to officials. If so, the Bellevue Municipal Pool at Cole Park would close, and the new Aquatics Center and pool at Offshore would open. Lifeguards from the Bellevue pool would transfer to Offshore to work for the summer.
In the meantime, the old pool would be winterized and essentially put in storage.
“We’re not going to implode it or fill it with cement, so it’s not going anywhere,” said councilman Tom Roth. “I say we see how it goes at Off-Shore over the next year or so.”