Whidbey Examiner


Admirals Cove weighs future of community pool

October 11, 2012 · Updated 10:18 AM

Admirals Cove homeowner Suzy Palmer is hoping to gain support for a plan to rehabilitate the community’s pool, which is in need of expensive repair and maintenance work. Without further investment, the pool could be closed for good. But some in the neighborhood say they don’t use the pool and don’t want to help pay for the work – even if it does make their homes more marketable to many homebuyers. / Elisabeth Murray photo

The gate has been padlocked and a red sign in the window says “closed.”

The Admirals Cove Beach Club pool has closed for the season, but some in the community hope it’s closed for good. Other community members are hoping to rescue it from demolition.

“When we purchased here, we bought with the expectation that we and our kids and grandkids would be able to use the pool,” home-owner Suzy Palmer said.

A past member of the pool committee, Palmer is seeking election to the beach club board. The community election takes place this month.

Admirals Cove, located just off Hwy. 20 south of Coupeville, offers two types of club memberships. Active membership is required of the 603 lot owners in Admirals Cove, while a limited number of associate memberships are available to those who apply to use the recreational facilities, which also include a private beach, lake and picnic shelter.

One argument for the pool’s closure is that the needed repairs will come with a hefty price tag, and paying for them could be a burden to those in the community living on a fixed income.

At over 40 years old, the pool, the concrete deck surrounding it and the building have started to show their age and some 20 years of deferred maintenance.

“The pool has come to the end of its normal, useful life,” said Karen Shaak, a current board member.

In the next few months the board will research ways of rehabilitating the aging structure, and come up with some solutions to present to the membership, she said. The membership will then vote on how, and if, it wants to proceed with saving the pool.

“It is up to the membership,” Shaak said. “We are not a homeowners’ association. We can’t force anything on the members.”

If the members decide to close the pool, it will affect more than just neighborhood residents. The facility has long been used by the Coupeville Lions Club for youth swimming lessons.

Paying for repairs could require either a beach club dues increase, a one-time assessment by the association or a combination of the two. Annual dues are approximately $130.

An alternative proposal from current board member Dustin Frederick would be a fundraiser, such as a “buy a brick” program, where each donor is honored with a brick embossed with their name. The bricks could be used to line either side of the ramps at the entranceway or on the path leading to the picnic shelter.

Frederick said that $13,000 has already been donated to help save the pool.

Another proposal is a two-tiered system in which people who use the pool pay more than their non-swimming neighbors.

Having the pool gives homebuyers an extra reason to consider purchasing in Admirals Cove, Palmer said, and local realtor Carmen McFayden of Windermere Real Estate agrees. Having the pool, plus the other features like the beach shelter and children’s jungle gym make it a great place for young families to purchase, McFayden said.

A Windermere on South Main Street advertising a lot in the community lists the pool as an amenity.

The non-swimmers would still benefit from the marketing that having the pool provides when it comes time to sell – even as their neighbors foot more of the bill of keeping it swimmable.

The community still doesn’t have a clear idea of how much it will cost to restore the pool facility, Frederick said. Previous estimates were done up to three years ago, and the scope of the project remains uncertain.

Refurbishing the pool could cost between $150,000 to $200,000. Repairing the pool building could cost $50,000, and replacing it could cost some $200,000.

However, newer estimates or more extensive repairs could increase these numbers further.

Palmer and Frederick both believe that a solution can be found – and getting rid of a pool right on the beach with a view of the Olympic Mountains is not the answer. Under current state and federal environmental regulations, Palmer said, a pool like they currently have could not be built so close to the beach and its spectacular views of Admiralty Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.

This is a lovely place,” Palmer said. “It is the centerpiece of our community.”


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