Right now, it’s just a big hole in the ground, but Curtis Hancock already can see the new community pool at Kandle Park in Tacoma’s West End.
When it opens next summer, the pool – near North 26th and Shirley streets – will feature four 25-meter lap lanes and a wave simulator that will ripple all the way to the zero-depth entrance into the warm water.
“A slide – that’s the only missing component,” said Hancock, Metro Parks’ project manager.
The pool at Kandle will replace the 50-meter competition pool at Titlow Park at the west end of Sixth Avenue. Park officials say the pool is no longer feasible to operate.
Structural issues with the aging pool and its location in a critical salmon habitat led park officials through a two-year search for a new location to house the park district’s second outdoor pool.
This is likely the last summer to frolic in the Titlow pool, which will open for the season Saturday. Park officials agreed years ago to sink $125,000 into repairs to keep it operating until the pool at Kandle opens.
After that, the Titlow pool will be drained and park officials will explore bringing in someone to operate the pool independently. There are no funds to demolish it.
“If there’s somebody who wants to come in knowing those conditions that’s something we’ll take under consideration,” Metro Parks spokeswoman Nancy Johnson said.
There will be many differences between the pools at Titlow and Kandle.
For one, swimmers will enjoy warmer water with the new pool. The average temperature at Titlow ranged from 78-80 degrees; it will be 85-86 degrees at Kandle.
The wave pool at Kandle will be the only one of its kind in Pierce County, and park officials hope it provides a fun place for teenagers to hang out.
In planning the pool at Kandle, great pains were taken not to replicate the pools at Titlow or Stewart Heights Park. The pool at Stewart Heights features a 160-foot water slide and a lazy river.
“When you get above 12 (years old), it gets kind of boring though,” Hancock said. “We want to make Kandle more an area for teenagers. But everyone is welcome.”
This will be the first time Metro Parks will use white concrete to construct a swimming pool. It is more common to use a stucco-like material or paint the pool, but that means annual repairs.
At Kandle, the pool will be drained at the end of every season, but additional painting will not be needed to keep it looking nice.
Last week, crews excavated the pool and put in most of the underground piping. The foundation for the bathhouse – which will provide rest rooms, showers and family changing rooms – is already laid.
The pool is part of an overhaul of the 10-acre park. Plans include concrete walking trails, skate dots, a sprayground, a small pool that can become a miniature sprayground and a new “boundless” playground.
That 8,500-square-foot playground will have a rubber surface with special equipment to ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, can play safely.
As part of the project, the basketball courts will be resurfaced.
Uncooperative weather has pushed the construction schedule back. Most of the park should be complete by early September. The playground and pool are expected to take until October.
Cost of the entire project is $7.5 million, most of which came from a park-improvement bond.
“I’d still love to have $250,000 to add a slide,” Hancock said. “Maybe one day.”