Should the city spend a little more to keep Colman Pool open longer?

(WSB file photo of Colman Pool)

Later this week, the Seattle City Council starts getting down to specifics in potential changes/additions to the mayor’s proposed budget plan. One group of West Seattleites thinks a little money could be spent to get a little more use out of a public asset in West Seattle: Colman Pool. If you agree, now’s the time to speak up. The 77-year-old, city-owned outdoor saltwater pool on the Lincoln Park shore is open less than three months a year – it opens for weekends from Memorial Day until mid-June, then daily until Labor Day, and usually a post-season weekend.

The photo above was shared by Venkat Balasubramani, one of a group of Colman Pool fans who gather for an end-of-season picnic and talked about campaigning to add some operating days to the pool as well as some funding to address its maintenance backlog. He says the issues brought up by pool users ranged from pump maintenance (you might recall that the pool was closed for four days this summer because of pump trouble) to the need for better, more thorough cleaning of dressing areas and pathways, as well as the restrooms, which the swimmers say also are desperately in need of toilet seats.

They’ve contacted our area’s Councilmember Lisa Herbold as well as Councilmember Debora Juarez, who chairs the committee that oversees parks and other public assets. Herbold’s staff told the swimmers that she has “submitted a ‘Form A’ in the budget process which requests additional funding to extend the use of the pool by one month every year and to add any funds necessary to fix the maintenance backlog.” But public support is required for changes to the budget, so if you’re interested in more use of/support for Colman Pool, there are two ways to show it:

-Send e-mail that goes to the entire council,
-Show up at the next major public hearing on the budget, 5:30 pm Tuesday, October 23, at City Hall downtown

For the request to move forward, Herbold’s staff told the swimmers, they need at least two other councilmembers to sign on as co-sponsors by the day after that hearing, October 24th.

24 Replies to "Should the city spend a little more to keep Colman Pool open longer?"

  • Jeff October 16, 2018 (12:31 pm)

    I like the idea, but I recognize it’s an easy one to like with the gorgeous fall we are having. In a different year, I might feel differently.

  • Seaweed October 16, 2018 (1:10 pm)


    Such a beautiful and somewhat neglected facility, that really deserves more appreciation from the City.

    It is a unique, one of a kind gem; a gift that deserves far more respect than what has been demonstrated in recent years.

    I suppose it has to be a Community effort rather than a Legacy maintenance by the City Parks and Rec.

  • seaweed October 16, 2018 (1:50 pm)

    As a dedicated adult lap swimmer myself,
    and all you others of same ilk, it doesn’t matter the weather, this is just the cherry for this season.
    The next day, week, season, I am still going to hump my way down to Colman pool any time possible.
    Because I am local, and any other pool pales in comparison!

  • barbara s spector October 16, 2018 (3:09 pm)

    yes! YES! yes!!!!

  • Graciano October 16, 2018 (3:43 pm)

    Sure why not, they spend money on other things why not something that is useful to everyone that would use it when otherwise closed!

  • LJ October 16, 2018 (5:36 pm)

    Absolutely! It’s where I take my kids to swim during the summer. No other pool compares. A walk in the woods to get there, a seaside view, saltwater pool… This place is near and dear to us – a part of my kids’ childhood memories.

    • NW Mama October 18, 2018 (7:36 am)

      My sentiments exactly. This is my favorite part of summer with my kids.

  • Sarah October 16, 2018 (8:22 pm)

    We can also invite swim teams to practice to help defray expenses and join the effort. Anyone with contacts? Mostly Colman breaks even if full of swimmers. The pool would lose family swim and swim lessons and the income, but could lap swimmers make it up? Also variable staffing for open hours would save expense. Does anybody know the net cost per day? Perhaps the first weekend and last week would be good proxies for estimates. The maintenance contractor I spoke to said the pumps need to be of the highest quality to work in salt water. Ours aren’t and break down. That should be a priority for major maintenance. Yes yes yes, been talking about this for years

  • Mabuhay October 17, 2018 (7:19 am)

    I posted this on a local Master’s Swim Team that books it during the regular season for coached workouts on Saturday mornings and the Pacific Northwest Aquatics group, which is USMS affiliate here.
    I’ve been swimming at Colman for years. It’s more expensive, requires payment for each session (didn’t use to be that way), and there are now not only more people living in Seattle but the region itself. It’s not just Seattleites who use the pool. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the amount of time the pool is opened. Time to rethink what benefits we are getting from paying more and having facilities get used more and more.
    Yes to having the only real outdoor pool (Mounger in Magnolia doesn’t count) in the city be open longer.

  • Jennie October 17, 2018 (8:59 am)

    Let’s heat it with solar during the winter for a lovely thermal-bath type feel :)

  • pjk October 17, 2018 (9:28 am)

    As someone who still works full-time, I would like to see it stay open later in the summer – there are plenty of daylight hours. Possibly stay open until 8pm?

  • Greystreet October 17, 2018 (9:30 am)

    I’d love to see it open longer as it seems very difficult to go to as it is, open swims don’t seem to be all that convenient and seems that is always a swim team or water polo or some other thing occupying the pool; I am getting into swimming now that I am learning how to do it and having an option closer to home that is open through October would be lovely!

  • Venkat October 17, 2018 (11:36 am)

    Thanks for chiming in. It’s a recurring theme among the swimmers there, but hopefully one day we will see some budget dollars go toward expanding the schedule!

  • BettytheYeti October 17, 2018 (11:53 am)

    We are not asking for a new pool, we are asking the city to maintain and extend the operation of a gift given to Seattle. The already short pool season is closed some weekends for pool swim meets. This year even shorter because of maintenance. How about saving money on painting sidewalks (that are already peeling) and invest it in a legacy property in its possession? I believe the proposal is for extending operation thru September, 4 month but 5 would be better.

  • John October 17, 2018 (5:26 pm)

    There is a shortage of good pools for team workouts. I’m sure with some improvement that teams would provide an income base for the pool, and allow it to be open longer for general public use.

  • James October 17, 2018 (5:34 pm)

    I’ve noticed that for most of the summer, there are swim teams in the pool starting from at least as early as 7 in the morning, and going as late as 9:30 at night, so I think people might be assuming that the pool is only in use in the operating hour between noon and 7, which it is not. How do you add more scheduling to that, especially when time is also needed to clean the facility? I think their seasonal schedule revolves around the public schools getting out as well as colleges from where they draw most of their staffing. Who is really going to benefit from this?

  • Sara Esrick October 17, 2018 (10:41 pm)

    YESYESYES! It’s time to reconsider the lap swim hours and (only 3) months that Colman is open! Colman is so amazing and is the only 50 meter public pool in the whole city. I have been swimming there for 20 years, along with so many others and we would really appreciate the pool being open longer in the summer.

  • Anne October 18, 2018 (7:52 am)

    Years ago a generous person donated funds to keep the pool open one weekend longer. Wow, what a gift. It was a hot September and the weather was perfect. Thank you to that person !!

    Considering the growing population in W. Seattle, it would be great to open it longer / earlier/ or later. It would be nice if they made up for the lost weekend hours in July when the pool is closed for meets by opening earlier in the morning during the month of July.

    As a lap swimmer, I’ll suggest that it would be helpful if the pool opened earlier on weekend mornings for whole pool lap swim, like 10 a.m., for those who have other obligations at noon and beyond, and who need to avoid noon hour sunburn. I know teams need to practice then, so there is conflict, but I think the pool would get a lot of use if the public could swim laps earlier in the morning.
    Thanks to everyone who started this discussion!

  • BettytheYeti October 18, 2018 (11:13 am)

    Thank you Anne for those many good points,

  • bwade October 18, 2018 (11:54 am)

    Yes, I would swim there in the spring and fall. Please extend hours!

  • Me October 18, 2018 (1:10 pm)

    keep it open

  • CherylC October 18, 2018 (2:28 pm)

    Yes! We have so few pools in the city and only one other public pool that is outside. Swimmers don’t care if it’s raining or cool outside when they are in an outdoor pool.

  • Erica October 19, 2018 (11:56 am)


  • cass October 19, 2018 (11:59 am)

    email to Lisa H and city council sent. The city should do everything possible to keep this gem in good working order and open to the public as long as possible in the season. Kitsilano pool in Vancouver opens earlier and stays open later, and even later if the weather permits. Surely we could do that as well?

Sorry, comment time is over.