Des Moines Pool District welcomes new commissioners, district manager

Three new faces are gracing the offices of the Des Moines Pool Metropolitan Park District with the swearing in of two new commissioners and the appointment of a new district manager.

Schell Ross and Toni Overmyer were recently elected to the board of commissioners, replacing Bernadette Barrett and Marty Martinson, respectively. Ross and Overmyer are the first new commissioners for the board since its formation in 2009 when voters overwhelmingly approved creation of the district to save the Mount Rainier Pool from closure.

Also attending his first board meeting Jan. 7 was Rodger Bennett, the district’s new manager. Bennett has more than 25 years of experience in city and financial management, most recently as the financial officer for the Snoqualmie Tribe and city manager for Florence, OR.

“With Schell’s experience as a teacher at Pacific Middle School and former assistant manager of the Mount Rainier Pool, plus Toni’s connections working with the Woodmont Elementary Parent Teach Student Association and the Highliner’s theatrical group, we’re even better connected with the community to focus on expanding program offerings at the pool,” said newly re-elected board president Gene Achziger.

Ross and Overmyer join fellow commissioners Eric Kasnick and Nancy Kuehnoel as the district enters its fifth year. Kuehnoel was also recently re-elected as board clerk for the district.

Achziger praised outgoing commissioners Barrett and Martinson for their contributions to helping organize the new district and making much-needed repairs to the Mount Rainier Pool.

“I don’t think we could have had better stewards of the pool than we had with Bernie and Marty,” Achziger said. “Our first priority was to make major repairs and energy upgrades and under Marty’s leadership as the first district president, and Bernie’s help, we’ve managed to keep the doors open while making some significant energy upgrades. We couldn’t have been in better hands.”

The district is nearing the end of collecting data on the soundness of the pool, which was built in 1975 as part of a Forward Thrust initiative passed by King County voters in 1968. It remains owned by the Highline School District, which leases it to the DMPMPD in exchange for lane rental time for the Mount Rainier High School girls swimming team and the boys swimming and dive teams.

“The pool is closing in on the end of its projected 40-year lifespan and, frankly, King County did not take very good care of the facility. The building is really starting to show its age and we are at the point of having to determine whether it’s worth it to continue patching it up or time to start considering a new facility,” Achziger said.

He said Bennett was chosen in part because of his experience in guiding other municipalities through such evaluation processes.

“We’re looking to Rodger to help us further analyze our options and reach out to the community to understand what the voters want regarding aquatics in our district,” Achziger said.

He said Bennett will initially be introducing himself to district staff and the community. Bennett will work approximately three days a week and will be establishing a regular schedule shortly.

Bennett’s office telephone number is 206.429.3852 and his email is: [email protected].

The district offices are at 22015 Marine View Dr. S. and the mailing address is: Des Moines Pool Metropolitan Park District, P.O. Box 98711, Des Moines, WA 98198.

The board of commissioners meets regularly at 5 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the district offices.

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