If all goes as planned, the Camas Municipal Pool will have a new manager come summer.
Lacamas Swim & Sport is negotiating an agreement with the city to operate the pool, which could open as early as Memorial Day weekend.
“Swimming is important for everyone to learn, and if the pool doesn’t stay open, then it overloads our club,” owner Denise Croucher said. “It’s easy enough to expand my staff, and I thought it would be a good fit. It keeps more water available to more people.”
City Administrator Pete Capell presented the proposed agreement at the April 7 City Council workshop. He hopes to have a contract ready by April 21.
“We are proposing to hire Lacamas Swim & Sport for several reasons,” he said. “They have a great swim program. Our pool manager retired, so we would (have) needed to hire a manager and staff. They want extend the season and provide more services.”
For the past several years, the pool has cut its summer season short due to budget constraints. The tentative plan is for Lacamas Swim & Sport to have it open through Labor Day weekend. There will be a slight increase in fees to account for the increase in minimum wage, but that number is still in the works.
“I am really excited about this agreement,” said Mayor Scott Higgins during the workshop. “To be able not to put any more money in, and still have it run like it did when I was a kid, is very exciting. Every year when we’ve had to close it early, it just felt unfortunate.”
As per the draft agreement, the city will provide the chemicals to treat the pool and prepare it for summer use. Lacamas Swim & Sport would receive all revenue generated from operation of the pool, including admission fees, swimming lessons, special program fees and concession revenues.
Croucher isn’t expecting a profit the first year.
“The pool has been losing money, so we are just hoping to break even,” she said.
There will also be several improvements that will need to be paid off before any profit is realized, such as adding lane lines and backstroke flags to the pool.
The pool will offer traditional swimming lessons, family swim time, lap swimming and camps, but there are also plans to expand offerings and sell concessions. New opportunities could potentially include water polo, triathlon swim training, a summer league swim team, masters’ program, water aerobics and a “Silver Splash” program for senior citizens. Croucher is hoping to offer an ASB swim, where families purchase a pass from their respective school and swim every Sunday afternoon.
Croucher said a preliminary schedule could be posted to www.lacamassport.com within a week or so.
“We are getting close,” she said.