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A year ago in this space we argued that New Albany should conduct a feasibility study on the cost and benefits of a public swimming pool.
We still think so. A year later we seem to be no closer to getting our children a place to learn to swim and our families a wholesome spot for summer recreation.
A request for $20,000 to conduct a study for a year-round competitive swimming complex was turned aside by the Board of Aldermen in the new city budget adopted in September.
We don’t blame the aldermen for balking at a $20,000 study. It’s too much money for a consultant, and we think a reasonable evaluation can be conducted for half that amount. But so far, that isn’t happening.
It doesn’t take a fancy consultant’s report to know that we need a public pool. It’s obvious.
In our opinion, the real questions to be answered are whether we want to spend the extra money for a year-round facility, and whether we need to build one large enough for competitive swim meets.
Tupelo, which already has a public pool, last month approved construction of a massive $11.3 million indoor competitive swimming complex. Something of that type certainly is not suitable for a community our size.
But continuing to delay any consideration of a public pool is shortsighted and a disservice to our community, and especially our children. Yes, a pool would cost money to build and money to operate, just as any other government service from streets lights to the fire department does. Services are what government is supposed to be about.
We need to get on with finding a way to improve our community with a swimming pool.