The Fidalgo Pool in Anacortes was opened in a ribbon cutting ceremony on December 13, 1975, culminating years of effort to provide a swimming pool for the youth of our water-oriented community.
Past attempts to fund a pool through the City or the School District were unsuccessful, so a group of community leaders decided to pursue the formation of a State authorized Park and Recreation District to fund and operate one. In 1972, the Fidalgo Park and Recreation District was formed by approval of Fidalgo Island voters, the boundaries of which includes the high-property valued March Point Industrial Complex, but excludes the Swinomish Indian Reservation. The District is a Municipal Corporation operating under State statues with a five member Board of Commissioners that are elected and do not receive any compensation for their time. The District is not financially affiliated in any way with the City of Anacortes or Skagit County.
Following District approval, the new Commissioners worked with John Cheney, a Mount Vernon Architect, to develop a pool design and determine construction costs. After two unsuccessful attempts to fund the project, a construction bond was passed by the voters for an “open-air” pool in April 1974. Later that year, the voters approved a bond to enclose the pool.
The volunteer effort was immense during the developmental, planning design and construction phrases of the pool project – among the volunteers was Paul Luvera Sr. who had campaigned several years for the pool. Many individuals, businesses and services clubs believed in the project and donated funds for the land acquisition, pool deck/locker room tile, and numerous other expenditures. Facility construction was accomplished in 1975 at a cost of $820,000
The Commissioners hired Dan Meyer as the Fidalgo Pool’s first manager. Dan immediately established pool programs with a strong emphasis toward youth, including an excellent Red Cross swim lesson program that continues to this day. He also organized the youth swim team in 1976 known as the Thunderbird Aquatic Club.
In the addition to the usual pool scheduling for lap swims and youth open swim times, a need to provide adult water fitness and exercise programs emerged. As Anacortes demonstrated an increased need to provide services for seniors, the District responded by adding specialty programs. In the 1986, the District refurbished the utility room off of the upstairs lobby as a Fitness Center. The room serviced patrons for decades until it became apparent that more work was needed. On October 24, 2014, the District opened a new fitness center on the lower level with new PreCor machines and cardio trainers, while converting the upstairs area to a group exercise classroom.
The new fitness center allows more space for people with disabilities. Being on the first floor also allows easier access for ADA customers to reach the locker rooms and front desk. In addition, staff members are more readily available to support safety and assist if an injury occurs.
The exercise room upstairs is mainly used for group fitness classes lead by an instructor, and include Yoga, SilverSneakers®, Strength and Range of Motion, Thunderbird Aquatic Club Fitness, Cardio-Aerobics and others. We are also looking to increase the number and selection of classes we offer in the near future!
We appreciate our voters’ support with our Maintenance and Operations levies, which allows us to keep the pool up and running in a state of readiness. The Commissioners, managers and staff of Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center strive to keep levy burdens to a minimum. Program fees are also kept to a reasonable amount, and cover program expenses.
The pool is a nexus for our community, fulfilling our mission statement: “Fitness, Friendship & Fun.” We look forward to seeing you in the future!