City council should rethink opening pool

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By The Staff

It's time for the Eminence City Council to remove the rose-colored glasses and take a hard look at the feasibility of re-opening the city's pool.

Officials initially believed the pool repairs could run the city as little as $12,000. That belief was hopelessly naive.

As the pool committee and council looked a little deeper at cost estimates for the pool's repair, the price tag rose from $15,000-$30,000 to more than $150,000.

Some creative analysis of the city's budget by members of the committee "found" what they seemed to think was "extra" funds. Those funds, to the tune of $151,000, would come out of water and sewer reserve accounts.

While the city might not "need" that money right now, it has a looming problem - its sewer system. Aging and approaching capacity, the system likely will have to be repaired or expanded in the near future.

The city's community life center could use a few upgrades and repairs as well.

Then, last month, the city reviewed two bids for the pool's repair. The bill proposed for acceptance by the pool committee came in at more than $237,000. In truth, the $237,000 would give Eminence, essentially, a brand new swimming pool. But it does not include other costs, such as work on a bathhouse nor the cost of hiring a lifeguard and pool manager.

According to some former officials, there were several reasons for the pool's closure - maintenance costs, difficulty finding lifeguards, and perhaps most importantly, declining attendance.

When one council member merely suggested the city could do a lot more for its residents throughout the year with $237,000 than simply putting it into a pool that would only be open three to four months, he was derided.

But he was very correct. If the city could bring hundreds of residents into the city with its Music on Main program, for which there were four concerts held at a total cost of $4,000 - imagine what the city could do with $237,000.

The city hosted a Halloween event at the Kentucky Renaissance Festival grounds that drew more than 800 people, at minimum costs.

And let's not forget the community life center, where the children, who we've constantly been encouraged to remember in all of this, can go and play - year round. For free.

It's time for the city to seriously reconsider its decision and take a hard look at its own future.

We suggest a new course. With the City of New Castle pursuing a skate park, the City of Eminence could be in a unique position to help.

Why not explore the possibility of turning the old pool into a skate park?

It would still benefit the children, and be open year round.