Walnut – It’s true that public pools bring good things to a community. From swimming lessons and healthy exercise to organized water sports, water safety and of course, fun, which is why a new Aquatic Center that may be in Walnut’s future has once again been delayed by the city.
“The reasoning behind the cancellation is the never-ending approval of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR),” said Walnut resident and advocate of the center. “The report was sent showing a two-story recreation building and the stage area to accommodate entertainment, i.e., Concerts in the Park, etc. but the Council did not make a timely decision; therefore, the construction with the biggest impact on the property was reported.”
The City of Walnut currently provides a program utilizing the Walnut High School pool. The Walnut Unified School District allows public use during the summer, offering a multitude of courses for swimmers of all ages and abilities; but priority belongs to the high school’s aquatic team. Nearby Mt. San Antonio College also allows public use of their pool with organized programming, but Walnut itself doesn’t have an aquatics center to serve its nearly 30,000 residents. One individual in particular feels the Walnut High School’s nearly 40-year old pool does not meet the needs of the community. Stines, who has lived in the city since 1973, seems intent on formulizing a plan that would help the city approve the project. But the city hasn’t met the projections according to community members.
“The amenities for the Center have not been approved by Council, which would determine the financing costs, added Stines. “ The study session is to discuss the amenities and the financing options; therefore, it was prudent to cancel the session.”
Stines has spent the several months gathering information on the benefits of an aquatic center, and has made some progress. According to recent information from Stines, she hosted a Community Awareness booth at the Walnut Family Festival last October just to provide information and facilitate the collection of signatures on a petition for this project.
Stines reports that back in 2007, the Park and Recreations Commission formulated a proposal to the Walnut City Council regarding the development of an Aquatics Park and Building Complex in the Three Oaks housing development. Due to the economy at that time, the $10 million budget item lay dormant. Six years later, Stines was happy to report that the City of Walnut Parks and Recreation Department has agreed to place the topic on their November 2017 agenda. Up for discussion was the feasibility of using the nine acres selected for an Aquatic Center back in 2007, currently owned by the City, Three Oaks and Walnut Ranch. There is also acreage in the hills above Country Hollow Drive, currently adjacent to tennis courts and a soccer field that might allow for an expanded version of an Aquatic Center.
“We continue to hear from the City there are no residents coming forward to voice their need for this center,” added Stines. “Council continues to play the waiting gaming knowing residents become complacent and will eventually give up the idea of our need to make our children safe and a place for older adults to come for the therapeutic waters.” To voice your opinion go to www.cityofwalnut.org.