The Wenatchee City Council will likely reject a bid to make major upgrades at the city swimming pool.

A bid to replace the pool’s liner and plumbing came in at $2.1 million, which is far higher than staff estimate of $1.6 million or their hired aquatic engineer’s estimate of $1.2 million.

Wenatchee Parks and Recreation Cultural Services Director David Erickson is recommending the city reject the current bid and look for more favorable submissions in the fall.

"Probably the August 11th (city) council meeting we would reject the current bid, and then rebid the project in September," said Erickson. "So, by the end of the year we would have a good idea of what the actual bit number is going to be going into budget for next year."

Erickson said a more competitive bid could be used with possible grant money to lower the costs of making the necessary upgrades at the city pool.

The city is currently sitting on a $350,000 grant from the state and will find out on Aug. 3 if an additional $350,000 will be granted.

In addition, State Sen. Brad Hawkins assisted the city is getting a $533,000 grant for the state Department of Commerce to use on the pool. This city still has to formally accept that money.

If all the money is realized, the state would cover more than $1.2 toward any potential bid for the upgrade project.

The pool is showing age having bee build 57 years ago.

Erickson described its pipes as "paper thin". He also noted the liner was last replaced in 1996, a process which should typically take place every 10 years.

A replacement is now being manufactured for the pool's main boiler, which failed lost month and nearly forced it to close down for the summer.

Wenatchee Mayor Frank Kuntz favors a collective effort among several cities to build a regional aquatic center.

Neighboring communities, such as Moses Lake and Ephrata, offer aquatic centers while Wenatchee continues to pay for updates to the city pool.

Also, 57 percent of those who use the pool are not city residents, and Kuntz has said Wenatchee will not always foot the bill for the costly upgrades because of that statistic.

But there's been little interest from surrounding cities and towns in a collective aquatic center.

So, Kuntz believes the city pools pipes and liner most be replaced.

"If we're going to stay in the pool business for the next 10 years, this is the project to do," said Kuntz. "(There are) issues like paying for it. But this is the project that would give us the best chance,"

Representatives from Velocity Swimming attended last week's council meeting, expressing their need to keep the pool open.

Vice President Rachel Madson said the team's two swim meets at the pool, Apple Capital and Starlight, provide nearly half of their funds to keep the program running.

Madsen also noted that Wenatchee has the only 10 lane outdoor Olympic size swimming pool in the northwest.

The city council won't make any final decision on the city pool for at least several weeks.

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