Contriubted photo

Islands swim center gets a quarter-million boost from state

  • Sun Jun 6th, 2021 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Friends of the Lopez Island Pool.

The Washington Senate and House of Representatives recently included $245,000 for the Lopez Island Swim Center in the 2021-2023 state capital budget. On May 18, Gov. Jay Inslee signed the budget.

The Friends of Lopez Island Pool (FLIP) board and volunteers are extremely grateful to community supporters and leadership across San Juan County for their help in obtaining this important state funding. FLIP consultant Joanna Grist commented that “this was truly a community-wide effort—it speaks to the passion for this project throughout the San Juan Islands.”

Sen. Liz Lovelett and Rep. Alex Ramel sponsored FLIP’s request in their respective legislative bodies. Sen. David Frockt, vice-chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the Senate’s lead capital budget writer, and Sen. Christine Rolfes, Senate Ways & Means Committee chair, advocated for this funding in the final conference budget sent to Inslee.

In her March 2021 testimony to legislators, Lopez middle-school student Anna Fuller explained the situation: “Can you imagine growing up on an island not knowing how to swim? Well, that is the case for 92% of Lopez Island elementary students. When asked to perform a basic water competency test, only 8% passed. This means that they couldn’t get themselves to safety from deep water.” She concluded, “This is a safety crisis. Please don’t wait for tragedy to happen.” Senator Frockt agreed and told Anna he would work with Sen. Lovelett to find the funding.

“It is gratifying to see the state step up again,” said Bill LeDrew, FLIP board president, “and recognize the critical need for the Swim Center, which will bring greater health, water safety, and connection to the people of San Juan County for generations to come.”

A combined total of $2.11 million has been committed by local and state governments.

“It’s clear our community wants and needs this,” said Lisa DiGiorgio, FLIP board vice president. “More than 950 donors have contributed to making this pool happen, with almost three-quarters of all private support coming from local Lopez addresses. We are thrilled that the hard work, persistence, and steadfast community support has resulted in additional support from our elected officials.”

FLIP continues its diligent work to raise the remaining funds for the Center’s construction. With this new state funding, FLIP has now raised 71% (or nearly $5.65 million) toward the total project cost of $8 million.

FLIP invites you to send thank you letters to Lovelett, Ramel, and Frockt, Rolfes and Rep. Debra Lekanoff for their support.

• Lovelett, Liz.Lovelett@leg.wa.gov

• Frockt, David.Frockt@leg.wa.gov

• Lekanoff, Debra.Lekanoff@leg.wa.gov

• Ramel, Alex.Ramel@leg.wa.gov

• Rolfes, Christine.rolfes@leg.wa.gov