SARC pursues county funds

Request is for replacement of key piece of equipment

Sequim Aquatic Recreation Center officials await the answer to their request to the Clallam County Board of Commissioners for $386,100 from the county’s Opportunity Fund.

SARC officials submitted their application early April, but Clallam County Administrator Jim Jones said he won’t see the application or put it on the commissioners’ agenda until after the Opportunity Fund Advisory Board reviews it.

In order to make a recommendation to Jones and the county commissioners, the advisory board is expected to discuss the request Thursday, April 23, County Commissioner Jim McEntire said.

“It should come before us fairly soon,” he said.

If approved, the Opportunity Fund grant would pay for the design, construction and installation of a new air handling unit — a piece of equipment necessary to safely operate the pool.

“The air handling unit is required by the Health Department to remove harmful chemicals (chloramines) from the air,” Scott Deschenes, SARC executive director, said.

Two independent engineering facility audits flagged the community center’s air handling unit to be at the end of its expected life raising “serious concerns,” Sherry Nagel, SARC Board of Commissioners vice chairman, said.

Despite Sequim city officials’ push to postpone the upcoming proposal for a Metropolitan Parks District aimed to help support SARC because of its narrow scope, Sequim city councilors unanimously supported SARC’s request for county funds April 13.

“We’re looking very carefully at finances and with or without the Opportunity Fund money, we have to think about moving forward,” Frank Pickering, SARC board chairman, said in reference the effort to propose the creation of a Metropolitan Park District on the August ballot.

“If SARC is able to secure these funds, it will not, in any way, minimize the cash flow needs that SARC has for day-to-day operations because the Opportunity Fund money may only be used for capital improvements,” Susan Sorensen, Citizens for SARC Campaign chairman, said.

Since late February advocates of SARC have been gathering the 3,500 signatures (15 percent of Sequim School District voters) required to get the referendum on the Aug. 4 primary ballot for the creation of a Metropolitan Parks District with a proposed tax levy amount of 12 cents per $1,000 assessed property valuation. SARC supporters have until May 1 to submit the petitions to the county auditor. If requirements are met, a special filing period will open for anyone wanting to run for the new district’s board. Candidates also will appear on the August ballot.

 

Reach Alana Linderoth at alinderoth@sequimgazette.com.