Building a Better Pool for Ashland
Making a splash, learning new moves, pool parties, relaxing and feeling good. No wonder community pools matter.
Learning to swim is a life skill—and a survival skill. Drowning is the leading cause of death in Oregon for children four and under.
Lap swimming may be the best exercise ever. At the Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool, the first swimmers take their lanes at 5:30 a.m., the last at 7:00 p.m.
Water polo is one of the world’s toughest sports. Ashland High School’s water polo teams compete at the highest level, but they can’t host meets: the Daniel Meyer Memorial pool isn’t deep enough.
Potential Pilot Swim Program for Ashland Elementary Students
Based upon the results from the Red Cross Basic Swim Skills survey, conducted by SOAC in June, 2021, SOAC has requested that the Ashland School District consider implementing a Pilot Swim Program of elementary school students at some time in the near future. Such a program would be implemented with a user agreement with Ashland Parks and Recreation.
The survey results indicated that 35% of Ashland’s 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students were not capable of performing all five Red Cross Basic Swim Skills. The participation rate of the survey was 24%. It is feared that many families in the 76% who did not participate may be at financial risk, and therefore their children probably also have not been enrolled in any swim classes.
In order to insure that ALL Ashland children are water-safe, and that ALL Ashland children are offered the opportunity to learn how to swim, SOAC and APRC are requesting that Ashland School District consider implementing this Pilot Swim Program, and ultimately include swim class as part of the regular curriculum. Talks with Ashland School District are ongoing at this time.
Update: In early November ’21, the ASD and APRC reached a tentative agreement to launch a Pilot Swim Program in May ’22. We are thrilled!
New Pool Project Delayed – August 2021
Director Black and the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commissioners have determined that the project of rebuilding the Daniel Meyer Pool must be delayed, and so they have not allocated funds for it in the 2021-2023 biennium budget. APRC simply cannot take on the added construction and maintenance costs of such a project at this time; however, there are funds available for maintenance and repairs of the old pool.
Director Black and the Commissioners remain fully convinced that Ashland needs a better pool that serves all citizens – a multi-generational, multi-functional pool, and the design by Robertson-Sherwood, pool designers, reflects that.
Daniel Meyer Pool Update: June 2021
Not surprisingly, COVID 19 has taken a large toll on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission. It has had to close programs to reduce the risk of infection, lay off employees, and place projects on hold — including municipal swimming.
The good news, though, is that the Daniel Meyer Pool is scheduled to re-open this summer, probably in June, mindful of necessary COVID precautions.
Currently, the Ashland and Phoenix/Talent high schools have been renting the pool from the APRC for swim practice, along with Rogue Valley Master Swimmers. The arrangement is filling a critical gap in the availability of other pools in the Valley for competitive practice for high school swimmers: it is one of few available, with others sidelined for repairs or the challenges of being COVID-safe.
SURVEY OF SWIM SKILLS AMONG LOCAL YOUTH:
Aware that accidental drowning is the number one cause of death in children ages 1-5 and the second cause of death in children ages 5 – 15, Southern Oregon Aquatic Community (SOAC) recently surveyed Ashland parents of children ages 9 -12 about their child’s swimming skills.
The American Red Cross identifies these 5 Basic Swim Skills: (1) Jump or walk into water over one’s head; (2) Surface and tread water or float for one full minute; (3) Turn around in a circle to determine where to get out; (4) Swim 25 yards without stopping; and (5) Get out of the water (or pool) unassisted without using a ladder. These are the skills everyone, no matter the age, who is near or in the water needs to know to save their own life if caught in a dire situation.
The good news is that 65 percent of the parents responding to SOAC’s survey said that their child could perform all five skills. The bad news is that 23 percent said their child could not and another 12 percent weren’t sure. We also suspect that parents with limited computer or cell phone access are under-represented in the survey—and their children may be the least likely to have had a chance at swim lessons. This means that 35 percent of children are at risk of drowning when in or near water.
We care as much about swim safety among our community’s young as we do about re-building our city pool for all ages. We are committed to supporting swim programs that remove drowning from the list of parent worries and community tragedies. We are requesting, too, that the Ashland School Board consider adding PE swim classes to the curriculum.
ONGOING COMMITMENT: The commitment of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission to rebuild the Daniel Meyer Pool—whether it be for swim lessons, recreation and leisure, aquatic rehabilitation for seniors, or aquatic sports—remains as strong as ever. For now, though, funding and construction is dependent upon Ashland’s economic recovery, specifically when Food and Beverage Tax revenue is once again robust and can be used towards the previously approved revenue bond.
Nonetheless, on December 8th, 2020 the APRC hosted an online public meeting to present the latest draft of the new Daniel Meyer pool design, created by Robert Sherwood Pool Designs, Inc. Viewers had a chance to see detailed blueprints and schematics for the pool, plus ask questions about all aspects of the project. APRC indicated that this was the first of an ongoing effort to keep the public informed.
BACKGROUND: Since 1983, Ashland’s Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool has offered a cold splash against the summer heat, swimming lessons, lap and recreational swimming, water polo, gentle swim for seniors and more. Thirty-seven years later, it has aged out and public swimming in Ashland is at a cross roads.
In 2018, a Pool Ad-Hoc Committee was appointed by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission. It has surveyed residents and conducted listening sessions to gain community-wide input on what to do—from making simple repairs to imagining a year-round aquatic facility.
In September, 2019, the Pool Ad-Hoc Committee submitted their final recommendations to the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commissioners. The five commissioners were unanimous in their support of the committee’s recommendations and funding was approved. The $2.9M project is to be funded by a revenue bond, backed by the food and beverage tax.
CLICK HERE to see the full recommendations.
Building a better pool requires community-wide input and investment. Please join us in this vital campaign!