The Loss of a Landmark
Closing Titlow pool was a decision that didn’t make much sense. Titlow pool was closed mainly because it was not cheap to operate, and it was not making enough money. The impact of the pool closing, however, should have been more carefully considered.
There were three main consequences of the pool closure. First, some of the local swim teams were left with no pool to call home. Second, Tacoma lost its only 50 meter pool. Lastly, the pool was almost 65 years old and was a historical landmark that should have been preserved.
It was a unique outdoor, 10 lane, 50 meter pool. Not many other pools are outdoor and most of them are six or eight lanes. Almost all pools in the South Sound area are twenty five yards long. The only pool of its kind is now more than an hour away.
Metro Parks diverted its funds to build a spray park at a different location. It would have been cheaper to renovate and restore Titlow pool than it would have been to build a spray park. Kandle Spray Park cost a little more than $120,000 to build. Some estimated Titlow Pool would have required only about $55,000 dollars to renovate.
You may be wondering who made the decision to close Titlow Pool. A group of Titlow Pool supporters, The Titlow Alliance Group, tried everything they could to keep the pool open to no avail. Metro Parks was determined to build Kandle Spray Park and needed funds set aside for Titlow Pool to do it.
Even though it was only running half of the year, Titlow pool was bringing in about $68,000 dollars annually. However, expenses for the pool were sizeable. Utilities and lifeguards alone cost approximately $43,000. This left a budget excess of only $15,000 per year. With modest investment, Titlow could have been covered with a pool dome allowing it to run year round. Titlow pool would then have more than doubled its operating the income. With some creativity and willingness to renovate it, it could have sustained itself.
Running Titlow was not cheap, but it could have been made a profitable asset to Tacoma. It was irreplaceable to the teams that swam there and all those teams are left with memories of what was once a glimmering gemstone by the Puget Sound.