PASCO, Wash. - Tri-Cities voters told the Regional Public Facilities District they want an aquatics center.
"The question is whether or not the Tri-Cities voters are going to want to support building a facility with a 0.1% sales tax increase across the three cities," said President of the Regional Public Facilities District Matt Watkins.
That question will be answered later this year when the issue ends up on the ballot. While waiting for that, though, plans for the aquatics center are moving forward. A site has been picked out and held with $60,000 of Pasco city funding. It's between Road 100 and Sandifur Parkway.
"We get some passing traffic from Spokane to Walla Walla or Yakima. They're going to see a giant 40-foot tall water slide going down the freeway," Watkins said.
One part of the plans, the size of the competitive swimming pool, has some local stakeholders wondering if it's enough.
"Obviously, we would have liked, in a perfect world, to have the largest facility," said Tri-City Channel Cats head coach Todd Stafek.
They're the only USA Swimming Team affiliate in the region and have 165 swimmers on the team.
They host just one tournament a year but for lack of appropriate facilities they hold it at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
"Those are things that don't take place in the Tri-Cities right now. Either they can't because the facilities that we have or there's not enough room for spectators and what's required there," said Kim Shugart with the Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau.
"There's a balance between competitive swimming that's going to certainly attract tourists but its also very expensive to maintain. And then also an aquatics side that's more a leisure activity that also is going to help pay for the facility. We think the right mixtures is a 25-meter pool that's going to draw 20 or so events a season," Watkins said.