Demolition and reconstruction of the People’s Community Center pool on Tacoma’s Hilltop will begin next month, seven years after the city closed it due to structural damage.
The new indoor pool is expected to open in fall of 2016 at South 17th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
Fletcher Jenkins, president of the steering committee for the pool, said it has been missed. The old pool, opened in 1979, closed in 2008 after architects found that moisture and the corrosive pool chemicals had compromised the building’s roof and walls.
“This means so much for this community,” Jenkins said. “Swimming safety needs to be a priority.”
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The project has $7.5 million in funding, $5.3 million of it from the city. Metro Parks Tacoma added $1.7 million and the state Department of Commerce chipped in $485,000.
The city-owned pool will be the fifth operated by Metro Parks and the third one indoors.
The new pool will have three lap lanes, a leisure swimming area, spray pad and party rooms for rent. Large windows will let in natural light — the lack of which gave the old six-lane, 25-yard pool a dreary feel.
City Councilwoman Lauren Walker, a 25-year Hilltop resident, has advocated for reopening the pool since it closed. Walker took her kids to People’s pool for swimming lessons when they were young, and she now travels to Eastside Pool to swim.
She says the pool’s genesis — an attempt to answer civil rights-era concerns that Hilltop was underserved by city services — underscores its importance.
“The neighborhood asked for this pool from the beginning,” Walker said. “We need this here.”
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held May 7 at 3:30 p.m., with construction starting May 11.