Sep 24 2020

OPINION: Vote Yes on UU Pool Bonds

New Pool Can Serve All User Groups

We’ve known for 20 years or more that the beloved Piedmont pool was wearing out.

I first got involved in 2005, when my kids were small, by joining the board of the Piedmont Swim Club. The antiquated private nonprofit model, with a City-imposed restriction to Piedmont residents and cap on the number
of members, wasn’t a good fit for an obsolescent facility that needed a lot of capital investment.

Following the City takeover in 2011, a thorough and inclusive master planning process developed a practical and detailed master plan for a much larger new facility that can meet the needs of the entire Piedmont community as well as comply with current health, safety and accessibility codes.

Many different user groups use the pool – kids, families, swim lessons, teens and young adults, PHS and private swim teams, middle and high school PE class, adaptive PE, the PHS water polo teams, adult fitness swimmers, and senior water aerobics – and none of these activities can continue in Piedmont without a new aquatics facility. And because of its age and condition, continued repairs to the existing facility couldn’t address all the code issues, would likely involve unplanned closures, would not be cost-effective, and wouldn’t address the accessibility issues or the simple lack of water space for all the currently programmed activities.

The master planning process included an operational analysis by an expert aquatics consultant, which found that the new aquatic center can come close to covering its operating costs by accommodating many more users at the same time. The new aquatic center will have much more water space, including a large shallow area with zero depth entry for babies and smaller kids that’s connected to a “medium pool” area for older kids and lessons. A completely separate competitive pool with a moving bulkhead can accommodate lap swimming and team practice at the same time.

Piedmont needs to completely replace the pool, and Measure UU is the way to make that happen. Please join me in voting Yes on UU to build an aquatic center that will serve the community for another 50 years or more.

Tim Rood
City Councilmember

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

6 Responses to “OPINION: Vote Yes on UU Pool Bonds”

  1. I have been on the CIP Committee several years, which has studied the pool situation, and I have a daughter who swam on the PHS swim team for three years, and I agree with Councilmember Rood, the pool is past the point of just getting more bandaids applied. It may be cheaper in the very long run to get a new, better quality pool. And it definitely would be much better for the kids.

  2. Councilman Rood and Pool Supporters:

    While I initially supported the pool, can we get two promises if UU passes:

    (1) Rather then pass meaningless Reach Codes, employ best practices to reduce emissions in the new pool construction. The pool is responsible for c. 50% of the City’s greenhouse gas pollution.
    (2) A $15 to $20 per use fee is outrageous, especially for fixed income seniors who will not subsidize the pool What will the single use fee be?

  3. Discussion of GHG reduction practices of the proposed pool can be found at:

    As I understand it, the $15 day use fee was deliberately set so high to drive pool users to buy memberships instead. It’s essential to the economic model for the pool that drop in use be minimized.

    REACH codes are not meaningless – their low cost energy efficiency improvements have been proven to lower use of natural gas. They are needed because there is so little new construction in Piedmont that can meet the “all electric” standard. The proposed pool is new construction and the City could set en example for the community by applying this standard. As currently designed, the pool triples City GHG emissions.

  4. I agree with Rick. There needs to be guarantees that the new pool maximize solar water heating, and PV for the electrical needs.

  5. Can someone explain how the pool produces greenhouse gases (I’m assuming it’s mainly the chemicals added and the energy to circulate and filter the water), and what is being proposed for the new pool?
    For a highly used public pool, are there options to use less chemicals, or is that too expensive?

  6. Pool GHG emissions come from the burning of natural gas to heat the water and the use of electricity from non-renewable sources to pump the water. I’m not aware chemical treatment contributes to GHG. The pool proposal calls for a 3000 sq ft PV array to provide 5-10% of facility electrical needs and a 600 sq ft solar tube array to provide 55% of the heating needs (that’s estimated from a figure on the city website). There are all electric pools but they require PV arrays about the same size as the pool area. There’s an operational analysis on the city website that shows the “green tech” options considered in the design.

Leave a Comment