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Oregon Coast Aquatic Park News.

Here are some of the news articles that have been written regarding the Oregon Coast Aquatic Park.

  • Oregon Coast Aquatic Park Changes Name and Launches New Website
    January 25, 2013

    Welcome to our new webpage! OCAP wanted a more flexible site that reflects our dynamic vision. In the coming months, you will hear a lot about how Newport needs a new swimming pool. That is undisputed. It will be your decision whether to pay yet another tax to build and support this endeavor. I urge you to do your homework. The proposed Newport Recreation project is modeled after the Ketchikan, Alaska project. Please go to Ketchikan Gateway Borough – Gateway Aquatic Center on the web to view their new project before you cast your vote.

    OCAP’s project has changed in size and scope since its inception as we sought to meet the needs of our diverse community while providing a pay it forward option to our local governments. OCAP continues to talk with government officials about the need to work with nonprofits to form a coalition which will benefit our community. Not only will this project provide swimming facilities for you and your family – it will provide monies to fill the potholes and pave the streets that government budgets lack. Some times it is necessary to combine forces to deliver a truly new vision.

    OCAP’s options have changed and we now have the freedom to exercise them. You can get involved. Come to a meeting (see Calendar). Donate – your time and your money. Get informed – ask OCAP your questions. State your concerns. Look at the bigger picture to see how increased tourism spending can benefit our community.

    Thank you for your support. More information is available by calling Jeff Bertuleit at (541)265-3032.

  • 117 1/2 marathoners give their “Last Gasp” in support of new Oregon Coast Aquatic Park
    September 16, 2012

    One hundred seventeen half-marathon runners gave their ‘last gasp’ in support of a proposed Oregon Coast Aquatic Park that supporters have been trying to get built at a spot near the Oregon Coast Aquarium at South Beach. The “Last Gasp” half-marathon fundraiser drew runners from as far away as New Jersey to take part in the run that started at Newport High School, coursed up to the second dam up Big Creek, back to 31st, through the tunnels of Highway 101 and Agate Beach State Park, north toward the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, then south to the original Yaquina Bay Lighthouse, then back north to end it at the Nye Beach Turnaround.

    When all saw said and run, it was two hours and then some for most of the runners. Among women who came in first in their age categories, it was Melissa Tucker from New Jersey that came in first place age 19-30. Among women 31-40, it was Carleen MCKillop of Eugene. Women 41-50, Ana Kuhl from Oregon City. Women 51-60, Gail Kimberling of Otis and among women 61-70 it was Nancy March from California.

    Among the men who camer in first in their age category, it was Dane Skinner of Corvallis finishing first in men 19-30. Among men 31-40 it was Chris Patterson of Albany, men 41-50 it was Roy Haggerty of Corvallis, men 51-60 it was Paul Pearson of Florence, and for men 61-70 it was Robert Fuqua of Tualitin.

    For those who haven’t heard of the Oregon Coast Aquatic Park or might need a refresher, here’s a video (below the photos) outlining why it has so many supporters. If you’d like more information on the project, go to

  • The Oregon Coast Aquatic Park get their $1.3K for their 13K.
    March 22, 2011

    Although there appeared to be some initial heart-burn on the part of a couple of Newport City Councilors about granting $1,300 to supporters of an Aquatic Park at South Beach, the council wound up approving the award unanimously, with Councilor jeff Bertuleit abstaining. He’s on their board.

    There has been somewhat of a “polite rivalry” between one group that wants to build a multi-million dollar aquatic park at South Beach and those who want to build a less ambitious indoor pool next to the Newport Recreation Center. The Aquatic Park Boosters have extolled the virtues of their strikingly entertaining and alluring proposal that they claim would draw more tourists to Newport and would complement the nearby Oregon Coast Aquarium, Bayfront and Newport’s ocean beaches. But believing there is not room for two expensive new pool complexes many townspeople have taken sides or have taken pause in their support of the Aquatic Park.

    During the last city council meeting, some on the council expressed desire to see a business plan by the aquatic park boosters before they could bring themselves to handing over a $1,300 grant to support a half-marathon fundraiser scheduled for later this year. But after a letter from the Aquatic Park Boosters complaining no other applicant for grant money ever had to provide such information, the council admitted they may have over-reached. And so the request by the non-profit for seed money for their half marathon was granted without a dissenting vote.

  • Competing pool visions for Newport
    July 09, 2010
    By Larry Coonrod of the News-Times

    If the City of Newport puts a municipal pool bond on the Nov. 2 ballot, voters will face competing visions on how to replace Newport's 46-year-old swimming facility.

    The city is moving ahead with plans to construct a new pool near the Newport Recreation Center, financed in part with the sale of donated property and about a $6-million bond. At the same time, the nonprofit The Oregon Coast Aquatic Park (OCAP) is seeking land to build a water park in South Beach, which would include a lap pool, waterslide, wave pool, vending areas, climbing wall and other amenities.

    Both sides agree the current pool needs to be replaced. Built in 1964, it lacks adequate showers and has limited parking. The water temperature is inconsistent because the aging equipment often fails. The city estimates the cost of renovating the municipal pool at somewhere between $1.5 and $2 million, which would still leave the city with an outdated design.

    City council approves study

    In March, the Newport City Council authorized the spending of $25,000 for conceptual drawings and a cost estimate for a new pool. The city is inviting public input next week on conceptual drawings of six- and eight-lane pool designs. The plans will be available for viewing at the recreation center on July 15 and at the municipal pool on July 16. Based on a $6-million bond at 4-percent interest over 20 years, City Manager Jim Voetberg estimated the cost to property owners at about 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The actual cost could vary a bit depending on the size of the pool the public wants and the terms of the financing.

    With voter approval of a bond, construction of a pool would be completed in July 2013. If voters approve a bond, the money will cover the construction but not the operation of a new pool. Even with a recent user fee increase, the pool is budgeted to receive about $187,000 in general fund and room tax subsidies this year. OCAP believes, through what it calls "social entrepreneurship," that an aquatic park can turn nearly $900,000 in profits by the end of the second year.

    Citizens seek solution

    Concerned about the deteriorating condition of the pool, OCAP formed about five years ago. The organization's board, which includes Newport City Councilor Jeff Bertuleit, planned to work with the city in building an Aquatic Park. With funding from the City of Newport, Lincoln County and donations, OCAP commissioned an extensive study and business plan development for the proposed park.

    "We started this project to help the city," said Katherine Pedersen, president of OCAP.

    The board hoped to convince the city council to use about $1 million in transient room tax funds to purchase around 4.5 acres between Highway 101 and the Hatfield Marine Science Center for the aquatic park. The council took no action on the request.

    In early 2010, Newport attorney Bill Barton bought the South Beach property and offered to donate it to the city with the condition that it be used to support a new municipal pool, preferably adjacent to the Newport Recreation Center. The donation of the land is conditioned on the city passing a pool construction bond. The city would sell the property when the economy improves and the value of the land increases.

    Pedersen said OCAP has identified about $12 million in grant funding opportunities but needs to find a suitable site of at least four acres to begin fundraising efforts. Construction of the aquatic park is expected to take one to two years after OCAP has a building site, Pedersen said.

    An aquatic park in South Beach would fit in well with the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Hatfield Marine Science Center, NOAA and other tourist attractions, added Pedersen. The aquarium draws about 480,000 visitors annually, while HMSC gets about 230,000. The OCAP plan identifies nine profit centers and envisions about 80 percent of revenue coming from out-of-county visitors.

    "What we're creating is a destination resort. It's not just a municipal pool," Pedersen said. According to OCAP's business plan, a family of four non-resident visitors would pay about $40 a day for park admission. Rates for Lincoln County residents would be less, with an annual adult swim pass estimated at $187. The aquatic park plan envisions an eight-lane, 25-yard pool with possible expansion to a 50-yard pool. According to OCAP, an aquatic park will create 26 fulltime, 14 part-time and four contract jobs. If voters approve a bond for a municipal pool, Pedersen said OCAP still plans to build an aquatic park, but it won't have a lap pool.

    Reporter Larry Coonrod can be reached at 541-265-8571 ext. 211 or

    Copyright © July 12, 2010
  • Newport Pool in Hot Water
    July 29, 2009
    By Kate Rowland For the News-Times

    A group of Newport residents who were concerned about the city’s rapidly deteriorating community pool decided to do something about it. About five years ago, the group called itself Newport Swimming Pool Friends. Since then, the organization has undergone a couple of name changes, and its plans have evolved ambitiously. In May 2005, Friends of the Newport Aquatic Park began to visit other pools and facilities.

    An architect was hired in late 2006 to conduct a planning and design study. Public meetings were held to seek input from the community. A report on the group’s findings was presented to council in November 2007. The Newport community would like to have a larger, multi-use pool, a water slide and a therapy pool, the report stated. Other desirable features included a snack bar or cafe, sauna and steam room and rental space for meetings.

    One year later, President Katherine Pedersen sought council support with a DVD presentation, Let’s Go Swimming! The $15 million project had grown into a covered family Aquatic Park incorporating elements of a large water park, including water slides, wave pools, a climbing wall and rope swing. The project continued to expand. In April 2009, the board changed its name from “Aquatic Park” to “Aquatic Park” since that seems “to be a more accurate name for what we are doing,” states the group’s website.

    “We have never lost sight of our mission to provide the families and individuals of Lincoln County with a variety of aquatic and aquatic-related activities in a single state-of-the-art facility,” the site states. “We have carefully researched our options. “We have commissioned studies which indicate that this type of facility would do well in Lincoln County. We have consulted with people in the private sector who operate retail facilities which are similar and they concur.”

    Newport’s subsidized pool, built in 1965, continues to age. In 2007, the nonprofit reported that the pool uses antiquated systems that are continually in need of maintenance. Newport Parks & Recreation Director Jim Protiva said, “Our 46-year-old pool has some cosmetic challenges and it has some facilitation issues, especially in our changing rooms and in the configuration of the building.”

    He added that it will be necessary to raise the pool’s user fees in order to reduce the amount of subsidy required from the city’s General Fund. “It’s likely that prices will double as soon as our business plan and fee study is complete,” Protiva said. “The business plan is scheduled to be done this fall.”

    Newport Mayor Bill Bain said that despite its problems, the pool is not in any imminent danger of being shut down. “We’re not about to close the pool right now,” he said. “It isn’t a new pool and it has some serious problems. Some day we’re going to have to close it, but not right now.”

    Contact Kate Rowland at

    Copyright © July 30, 2009
  • Council decision will sink or swim Aquatic Park
    July 29, 2009
    By Kate Rowland For the News-Times

    Years of planning has placed the proposed Oregon Coast Aquatic Park on the Newport City Council agenda many times over a five-year span. What was generally viewed as a project for the vague, indeterminate future, however, has suddenly become a consideration very much for today. Councilors now find themselves facing a decision that will either turn the project into a reality, or delegate it back into limbo. Katherine Pedersen, president of The Oregon Coast Aquatic Park (OCAP), asked council during its July 20 session to purchase a specific piece of property in South Beach for the park’s use.

    The 5.1 acre-parcel at 2956 SE Ferry Slip Road is in foreclosure, making timely action necessary. “We are asking you for one decision tonight,” Pedersen told council. “We are asking you to appoint a committee to work with us to develop an offer for the property.” The City of Newport was asked to buy the land using room tax dollars earmarked for tourism-related projects. The nonprofit is not asking the city for a continuing subsidy, it plans to own and operate the aquatic park as a self-sustaining facility.

    The city would reserve rights to the South Beach property until all construction dollars were raised, then its commitment would be over, the group’s website states. OCAP has already raised $12 million in committed monies for construction, and plans to raise the rest through grants and donations. “Remodeling the city’s existing pool would cost $1.5 million,” Pedersen said. “The total purchase price of this land could be negotiated under $1 million.” Council did not make a decision. Mayor Bill Bain began to adjourn the meeting when Councilor Jeff Bertuleit reminded him that OCAP had requested action.

    “Whether we form a committee to help them with an offer, or go into executive session, or do something else, I don’t think we can just do nothing,” Bertuleit said. “We need to do something.” Bain replied, “Well, I’ll be blunt and tell you that I’m not ready to do anything.” The project was listed on the agenda as a discussion, not an action item, Bain said. In addition, only four members of the council were currently present, and any decision should be made by the full seven-member body.

    Councilor Terry Obteshka reminded council that the property’s foreclosure status meant that a decision was somewhat urgent. “I think we need to have more discussion with the full council and I don’t see how we can do that effectively tonight,” Bain said. “Perhaps we can do that during our next session on August 3.”

    Council objections

    The agenda item actually under consideration was a wetlands delineation report on the proposed site. An environmental consultant stated that 3.8 acres, or 75 percent, of the parcel’s total acreage had been identified as wetlands. Milos Jovanovic spoke to council on behalf of OCAP. The architect works for a design engineering firm, Root Design Build, that specializes in sustainable design and construction. The South Beach site is ideal for an aquatic park, he said. It’s a prime location for a public project.

    “It is a wetland, but it’s located right next to U.S. Highway 101 and surrounded by developed land,” Jovanovic said. “There are two hotels nearby and the Oregon Coast Aquarium is across the street. “Because of the development, it is not a very good wetland habitat. We feel that mitigating this wetland in another area would be better for plants and animals.” Nearby hotels were constructed over similar wetlands, and that’s not unusual, he said. Contractors have been building on wetlands for a long time.

    “There are special water-proofing techniques and special types of foundations that are perfect for such a location,” he said. “Constraints can be easily overcome.” The report also stated that the property is within the tsunami inundation zone, and Obteshka said that fact worries him. Children would be using the aquatic park, he said. “I think we should find another site,” he said. “There’s a lot of negatives to overcome with this one.” The hotels, the aquarium, in fact all development in that particular area is located in a tsunami inundation zone, Bain said earlier this week.

    “That’s always a concern,” he said. “I don’t think we could prevent someone from using private funds to build there. When you’re using public funds, you have to be careful. I don’t think the city would build there now.” Although an objection to locating the facility in South Beach did not arise during the council session, Bain later said that the location of the property, across the Yaquina Bay Bridge from the city’s center, is what he objects to the most.

    “I am concerned about locating the pool in South Beach,” he said. “I don’t think it will meet the needs of Newport citizens. I think it will be too hard to get to.” Many of the pool’s users are children, Bain said, and parents would rather their kids rode a bike or walked to the pool. “They can do that pretty safely in the city,” he said. “Having to cross the bridge would add a negative. “I don’t care if they build it in South Beach if they use all private funds. But if we’re going to use public funds to buy the land, we have to be sure of the benefit to our public. Will it meet our needs to the extent our current pool benefits our local population?”

    Pedersen said OCAP has considered 13 different pieces of property, located both north and south of the bridge. The group believes the best overall site is near the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center. Grouping that many facilities together creates a visitor destination, she said. “There are a number of reasons, but the most important is that the site is large enough and the price is reasonable,” Pedersen said. Jovanovic was a primary architect in the renovation of the old Armory that rejuvenated Portland’s Pearl District.

    “The aquatic park can become an anchor for the Newport area, for the people staying in those hotels,” he said. “We want to make a beautiful building that’s a great example of sustainable design. It would put Newport on the map in Oregon and in the country. “If you want to be a pioneer and if you want to do something great, I think there could be significant funds available on the state and national level.” Visit the The Oregon Coast Aquatic Park website at

    Contact Kate Rowland at              Copyright © July 30, 2009

  • OCAC Launches Fundraising & Sponsorship Campaign
    September 09, 2008
    By Kate Rowland Of the News-Times

    After a tense month spent grappling with a controversial airline service decision, Newport City Council faced much less contentious issues during a busy, regularly scheduled session on Monday. Every council decision was reached by unanimous 7-0 vote. Katherine M. Pedersen, president of Friends of Oregon Coast Aquatic Park, and Marcia Williams, secretary-treasurer, presented a DVD, “Let’s Go Swimming!” in support of a proposed $15 million swimming facility.

    The nonprofit would like to replace Newport’s aging community pool, built in 1965, with a covered family Aquatic Park incorporating elements of a large water park. The center would maintain all swim programs currently in place, while recreational enhancements, including water slides, wave pools, a climbing wall and rope swing, would serve to create an attraction that could become an economic draw. “Times have changed,” said Pedersen. “Our aging pool will soon need a major investment just to maintain it. An Aquatic Park would provide fun and fitness, and build the economy.”

    Residents would receive favored rates, she explained, and facilities where community members co-exist with visitors are popping up in other communities. “We’re pretty excited,” said Pedersen, who explained that the nonprofit has spent three years studying the issue, visiting other communities and commissioning feasibility studies. “We’re not in limbo. We’re ready to move forward and we’re ready to move forward now.” The group’s next step is to look at funding strategies, she said. OCAC requested $2 million from the City to start the ball rolling, and plans to apply for grants from county commissioners and other sources.

    “We need money,” Pedersen said. “We lack money to move forward and we are seeking financial contributions.” Jim Protiva, director of Parks and Recreation, supports the group’s effort, saying, “Swimming and water recreation is a good thing. This group is offering the community an opportunity to build a really great facility. “They aren’t rushing into this. While all the particulars aren’t worked out, the thrust is there.” Also attending Monday’s session were 12 community members in support of the endeavor, and no opponents.

    Williams said the nonprofit is working out estimated operating costs, but that there clearly was potential for a fair amount of revenue. OCAC is launching a fall fundraising and sponsorship campaign with its annual Dive into Jazz event, featuring Latitude 44, on October 25. Tickets are available at the Newport Municipal Pool, Red Lotus Music and The council plans to address the group’s request at a future date.

    Kate Rowland is a reporter with the News-Times. She can be reached at 265-8571 ext. 212 or                                      Copyright © November 10, 2006

  • Architect Gives Presentation on Proposed Aquatic Park
    November 21, 2007
    By Steve Card of the News-Times

    A proposed Aquatic Park that would serve residents and visitors in Newport and the surrounding area was a topic of discussion at a meeting last week in Newport Architect Carl Sherwood, of Robertson Sherwood Architects in Eugene, was hired about a year ago to conduct a planning and design study, the goal of which was to explore the feasibility of building an Aquatic Park. As part of the study, public meetings were held around the county - with the exception of the Lincoln City area - to gather input and gauge support for this project.

    A draft version of the final study was presented by Sherwood during the monthly meeting of the Friends of the Newport Aquatic Park, held on Thursday, Nov. 15 at the Newport Recreation Center. Elements of the study include facility assessment, market assessment, facility programs, site recommendations, concept design and other recommendations. Sherwood said they began the study with a number of goals, which included evaluating existing facilities, analyzing the market, identifying the needs, surveying the level of support, defining the "solution," and developing funding support.

    "We kind of got hung up in site selection," Sherwood said, "so we didn't spend as much time on defining the site solution. You can't really design a site or be specific about costs until you have a site selected. "About a half dozen possible locations were looked at, but nothing has been selected as yet. Even though no final decision has been made, they have been able to establish the criteria for what is needed in a site, as well as the approximate size it will have to be. Sherwood gave a rundown on what was learned over the last year.

    During the facility assessment phase, they studied the Newport Swimming Pool. That facility is functionally at capacity, is on a fairly small site, and has old systems that are continually in need of maintenance. Although the structure itself is solid, any renovation would require that it be brought up to code in terms of ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility. A major renovation of the current swimming pool would run between $1 and $1.5 million, said Sherwood, and a renovation plus expansion would be $2 to $2.5 million. But even when spending $2.5 million on the pool, "you would have essentially the same programs you have today," Sherwood said.

    "You would have an improved, longer-lasting facility, but it would not meet the needs of the greater community. "As a result of the public meetings held earlier this year, a number of features desired in a new Aquatic Park were identified. People would like to have a 25-yard, 8-lane pool. They would also like a multi-use pool, which could cater to non-swimmers wanting to use the facility. This would include things like a zero-depth entry and warmer, shallower water. A "double flow rider" is also something identified as a desirable feature, Sherwood said. A relatively new phenomenon, this is a "high draw" for young adults and teens.

    "Basically it's a flowing chute of water that you surf on," he said. A therapy pool is another feature people would like to see. This type of pool would be able to incorporate a broad range of programs. And a water slide is "a key recreational element in aquatic facilities," said Sherwood. "People expect to see these." Other desirable features in a facility include a snack bar/cafe, sauna and steam room, and meeting lease/rental spaces. The center would also need to incorporate changing spaces and support spaces. Altogether, the Aquatic Park would need around 46,000 square feet of space, said Sherwood, which is about half the size of the Newport Recreation Center.

    There would also need to be parking for around 150 vehicles. With those requirements in mind, the ideal site would be a minimum of 3 to 3.5 acres. That doesn't rule out a smaller site, added Sherwood, but that would require "stacking" some components, resulting in higher development costs .Even without a specific site in mind, Sherwood was able to develop a generic design plan, incorporating the various elements that people want to see in the facility. "It gives us an example of what would be there and how the elements would fit," he said.

    Using this generic design, and factoring in known costs for building similar projects in Oregon and Washington, Sherwood was able to come up with an estimated project budget of $15 to $16.5 million. This allows for about two years worth of inflation, assuming the project won't go to bid until about two years down the road. These figures don't include the cost of acquiring the site, said Sherwood. In addition to construction costs, Sherwood has analyzed the potential operating costs of a new facility. Based on data from other facilities, an Aquatic Park of this nature would generate revenue covering about 57 percent of its operating costs.

    The current swimming pool recovers about 25 percent of operating costs, he said. But running a state-of-the-art Aquatic Park will be more expensive than operating the Newport Swimming Pool, so even with the higher use, the anticipated annual subsidy needed for operations will about double from its current level - from $155,000 to around $300,000. Sherwood added, however, that this estimated level of use "depends on a site that is well located.

    "Recommendations coming out of the study include developing a year-round, family Aquatic Park capable of accommodating the anticipated population growth of the area for the next 50 years; providing a regional facility, not just one for the City of Newport; offering broad-based programs featuring numerous aquatic activities; providing related revenue activities; and locating it on an appropriate site. This would also be a publicly owned and operated facility, but this doesn't necessarily mean it would be operated by the City of Newport. It could be done through formation of a special district.

    Determining what entity will own and operate the facility is a task yet to be accomplished and something that will be addressed in a strategic plan. The site selection also needs to be finalized, sooner rather than later, Sherwood said, "so it can help bolster support for the project and allow us to move forward with the design." And once the design is finalized, the budget costs can be updated and refined. Sherwood was asked if there are grants available for developing a project like this. He said there are, as well as the possibility of securing private donations. And the Friends of the Newport Aquatic Park are in a much better position to go after this funding than is a public entity such as the City of Newport.

    Sherwood was also asked about energy saving concepts for an Aquatic Park. "The goals of sustainable design are built into this, but the specific details are not at this point. The goals are to a more green and sustainable design." He added grant applications will likely be viewed more favorably if using sustainable design elements. "There are a lot of energy saving features available for facilities of this type," said Sherwood. The upfront costs may be higher, but the savings are there in the long run.

    The study document provided by Sherwood is essentially a tool that can be used as the project moves forward. Kat Pedersen, president of the Friends of the Newport Aquatic Park, said Sherwood's report "is pretty positive considering the number of issues that came up while we were doing this. We've done a lot of work, (and) this is a good jumping-off place.

    "Steve Card is assistant editor for the News-Times.
    He can be reached at 265-8571 ext. 224, or


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