Archive for Thursday, May 3, 2001

Time to put city’s old swimming pool to rest


May 3, 2001

Summer has arrived and once again, the De Soto City Council is forced to pour more money into the city's old, dilapidated swimming pool.

Council members recently paid a visit to the pool to check on its condition in anticipation of the scheduled opening on Memorial Day. When they got there, they found exactly what the city's parks and recreation director told them they would: chunks of concrete from the deck's surface that had deteriorated over the winter.

The council mulled over its options and decided last week to invest the bare minimum about $2,500 to patch the pool and hopefully, make it through one more summer.

At this point, that's about the best decision the council could have made. There is no need to invest any more money than absolutely necessary in a 1960s-model pool.

Our question to the council is: how did this one sneak up on us?

It seems we had the exact same problem last year. The pool was falling apart. It was too old. It was too small. The price of repairs would exceed the pool's value, etc. etc.

Mitra Templin of the city's park board has come before the council on many occasions over the past year, urging members to move forward on a plan for a new pool. Has anyone heard her? She and her fellow park board members have studied the cost of renovating the current pool. They've researched the cost of a new one. And, they've approached school officials about forming a partnership to build an indoor/outdoor pool to be shared. The information is there. Now, it's time for the council to act. Councilman Brad Seaman called the pool a sinking ship, stating that he could not justify sinking more money into repairs.

Then why are we still talking about it? If the city needs a new pool, let's get a new pool. Pass a bond. Borrow the money. Do something. Talking about it for another year will not solve anything. The longer we wait, the more its going to cost.

Other than Summer Fun Days, which are hosted by the Sheriff's Department, there aren't a lot of things for children to do in De Soto during the summer. The swimming pool and the park are about it. The pool does not make a profit or cover costs. That's the nature of swimming pools. What city officials need to realize is that the pool is one thing that will not pay for itself. It's a public service item. We take the loss and we move on.

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