Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner and King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. COURTESY PHOTO, King County

King County awards $2.5M grant towards new Covington Aquatic Center

Facility would be built at new site and cost an estimated $70M to $90M

The city of Covington received a $2.5 million grant from King County towards a new Covington Aquatic Center.

The King County Council on Tuesday, Sept. 5 approved the grant, part of the 2020-2025 Parks Levy to assist public aquatic facilities through capital funding at any stage from feasibility studies through renovation and repair, as well as with open space acquisition, active recreation, passive recreation and local trails.

“I am excited about the prospect of a new aquatic center in Covington, which will be a valuable recreational resource for over 150,000 individuals who live in the area,” said King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn in a Sept. 5 news release. “Our current aquatic center is in dire need of replacement, and this significant grant award makes that possible.”

The Covington Aquatic Center, originally constructed in 1977, is at the end of its useful life due to deteriorating conditions and is increasingly at risk of a major building or equipment failure, according to the news release. In addition, the limited capacity of current aquatic center leads to many families and individuals who want to enjoy the pool being turned away.

The $2.5 million Aquatic Facilities grant was awarded to the city to help fund either the renovation and expansion of the existing Covington Aquatic Center or a replacement facility, subject to a study that is currently in progress. Early results of the study have ruled out the renovation and expansion option, so the city of Covington is now evaluating two new replacement facility options.

“A new and improved aquatic facility will ensure that future generations continue to have access to a local indoor swimming pool and a diverse range of programming for all ages,” Covington Mayor Jeff Wagner said.

The City of Covington expects to complete its analysis of the two new replacement facility options by the end of 2023.

Early estimates indicate that a new facility, which will include an aquatic center as well as other recreation spaces, will cost in the range of $70 to $90 million, according to the news release. A funding program is being developed as part of the current study.

The state Department of Commerce has contributed a $1 million grant toward the project.

A new facility would be built on vacant city-owned property at 17070 SE Wax Road, the site of the former Covington Elementary School. The property is known as the town center site.

The Covington Aquatic Center, 18230 SE 240th St., is a public swimming pool, owned and operated by the city. It offers a variety of programs, some of which require pre-registration or reservation, and some of which have drop-in fees. No joining fee is required. The center has city resident and non-resident fees. Residents have priority registration on select programs.

A design study showed the existing site parcel does not have enough space to provide a gym and does not have enough space for a large recreation pool, according to the city website. Public feedback also supports town center site over existing site.

The county’s competitive grant programs are part of the 2020-2025 Parks Levy and seek to assist public aquatic facilities through capital funding at any stage from feasibility studies through renovation and repair, as well as with open space acquisition, active recreation, passive recreation, and local trails.

King County voters in 2019 approved a measure to renew the property tax levy supporting parks, trails, and open space in King County. The measure replaced the levy that expired at the end of 2019 and will generate an estimated $810 million over six years, costing approximately $7.60 per month for the owner of a home with an assessed property value of $500,000.


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