A new public swimming pool apparently won’t come quickly for Greenwood. In fact, it appears local bathers will have to go another summer without a local, public place to swim.
That situation may be unfortunate, especially for the children who enjoy the pool during school break. But it is vital that the city get all important questions answered before ground is broken and there is no chance to make significant changes.
In other words, it is best to leave the fast lane to Michael Phelps and concentrate on getting it right.
The city’s redevelopment commission is considering a plan to build a $10 million aquatic center at Freedom Park. Board members said they need more information about the proposal, want to get public input and expect to hear from opponents of the plan.
If you go
What: Greenwood Redevelopment Commission meeting
When: 4:30 p.m. Sept. 11
Where: City building, 2 N. Madison Ave.
Why: Members of the public will be given up to three minutes each to comment on a proposal for a new swimming pool.
The public will get a chance to offer their views at a Sept. 11 redevelopment commission meeting, where people will be given three minutes each to weigh in on the pool proposal and whether property tax dollars from a property tax district should be spent on it.
This is an important part of the process, and we urge all interested people to turn out. The committee planning the new pool needs to know what people are thinking, not just supporters saying what kind of amenities they want but also critics who disagree with the site, the specifications, the funding mechanism or whatever.
In fact, it is the critics who often raise the most serious questions that must be addressed in order to craft a plan that will best serve the community. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
Redevelopment commission president Lee Money has said he also has questions and wants more information about how a new pool would bring in enough fee money from paying customers to cover its expenses and not cost the city tax dollars. The former pool had lost up to $80,000 a year, and the public should know whether the proposed aquatic center would pay for itself over the long term, he said.
He wants to see more detailed information about whether the proposed aquatic center would bring in enough from daily admission, season passes and concession sales to cover operating expenses such as salaries.
A question related to finances that hasn’t been addressed very vocally is the impact of changing school calendars. As more school districts go to what is being called a “balanced calendar,” summer break is shortened by a week or two, with that time used to create longer fall and spring breaks.
What impact would a shorter summer vacation have in terms of pool attendance? If more kids are back in school in early August and we have a cool, early June, then the effective swimming season could be reduced to six weeks. Is that enough time to cover costs?
We fully endorse building a new public pool. It is a shame that a city the size of Greenwood has to go a couple of summers without a public place for people to swim.
But we don’t want officials rushing through a proposal. Taking the time to plan carefully and to answer critics’ questions as fully as possible will result in a better facility in the long run.
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