By: Katherine Trowbridge
The Connell City Council accepted a request to provide free swimming throughout the 2022 pool season at their meeting on Monday, May 16.
City Admistrator Cathleen Koch shared that the city was approached about the idea from Molly Kunkel who was able to obtain donations to go towards pool pass fees. These donations coupled with the $5,000 donation from Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) towards park and recreation are making the free swim season possible.
Molly Kunkel stated, “I went to the pool day and night growing up. We bought pool passes and my kids went day and night as well.”
Kunkel explained this was something she had wanted to do for the last several years.
She explained, “I didn’t want anybody outside the fence. Pool fees were getting pretty spendy at $3 a session.”
This year she started asking the questions to the city. Finding out how much money the passes bring in so she knew about how much would need to be raised.
“The people I approached about it were very happy and excited to give towards it. This is all possible due to the generosity of the people I’ve approached. I’m just the voice for the idea,” Kunkel said adding, “Anybody can donate. Make checks out to ‘City of Connell Pool Pass’ and deliver to city hall or they can give it to me.”
“I hope it’s successful. I look forward to summer and the pool being used. I think it will get a lot of use. It’s a great summer time event for families. I’m excited. I really am excited.``
“The donations are really appreciated ‘cause it will give the kids of the community and the adults too, a chance to utilize the pool at any time. That’s really the point of a community pool is to make it available to the community to use during the summer months while school is out,” said City Administrator Koch.
Kunkel would love to see this become the norm. The city is looking at budgets and feasibility of doing it long term. However if there are donors who would like to support into the future that is also welcomed.
While passes to the pool are Free there will still be charges for swim team and swim lessons.