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January 28, 2013

SMITH: Don’t rush to build an outdoor swimming pool


And nothing says that the city council will do any more than the bare legal minimum before authorizing the issuance of municipal bonds to fund what may well be an obsolete project from day one.

Clarksville and Jeffersonville have outstanding outdoor aquatic centers. With the amount of money being proposed for a new pool in New Albany, the city could provide free admission at and free transportation to either of those facilities for every likely user of a new city pool — with no additional annual operating or capital costs, to boot.

A “spray park” along the riverfront or even multiple such parks scattered strategically around the city would be a better use of tax dollars. Let’s face it. In this day and age, an outdoor swimming pool is an albatross and I believe it’s a wasteful public expenditure.

It’s time to start a long public conversation about this to build a consensus on whether we need or even want a new outdoor pool in New Albany. Unless we have that, and unless people let their representatives know that they don’t want a new pool, my nightmare may become a costly reality. And for goodness sake, there's no need to rush this decision. I don't think a bond referendum would stand a chance of passing public muster, but a council that listens only to its own counsel might believe otherwise.

— Randy Smith is a New Albany resident who financially and politically supported the public funding of the YMCA and city indoor aquatic center.


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