A new feasibility study will provide recommendations on future pool options in Grant County and how to put a funding mechanism before voters next year.

Representatives from Grant County Court, John Day-Canyon City Parks and Recreation District, the city of John Day and Grant School District 3 discussed pool options at a county court work session Sept. 24 at the Grant County Regional Airport.

A majority of stakeholders present were supportive of having a pool, but discussions continued on how a pool would be financially supported and what funding plan should be placed before voters for approval in 2020.

Aaron Lieuallen, John Day’s senior project manager, said a six-month feasibility study will begin in October that can answer questions such as recommended options on location, timing, organizational structure, how it impacts a taxpayer and how to prepare the information from the study to request funding from voters.

The feasibility study will cost $50,000, which will be covered by a $40,000 planning grant the city received from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and $10,000 from the city of John Day.

The study will include recommendations on what voters will see on their ballot.

“I was told that they’re prepared to put a package together that’s gonna tell us how big the district should be, who should pay for it, who should be included, who shouldn’t, what type of owning we can afford and prepare a package to put to the voters in May or November and let the voters say yes or no,” said John Day Mayor Ron Lundbom.

Keeping Gleason Pool in its current location will be an option in the feasibility study, he said, but it will prevent the planned expansion of the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage site by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

“I think we’re prepared to move forward with the sale (of the current pool property to the state) if we can come up with the right amount of loot, I guess you would say the value plus what they are willing to contribute, and put that towards design and feasibility for the relocation,” Lundbom said.

M.G. Devereux, deputy director of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, planned to visit John Day Oct. 1 to look at the property and continue negotiations.

The 2020 season will mark the end of the pool-operating contract with John Day-Canyon City Parks & Rec.

Parks & Rec representatives said they are still interested in the pool and want to be involved, but board member Russ Young clarified the current responsibility the organization has.

“We’re just management of the pool, wherever the current location is or isn’t,” said Young. “(Parks & Rec is) not in negotiation for the failure or savior of the pool just because we need to renegotiate a 20-year-old contract.”

Young said Parks & Rec is willing to manage a new pool, but a new contract will need to be negotiated.

Grant County Court will give the final approval on what plan voters will see next year.


Rudy Diaz is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at rudy@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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