27 July 2007

CRC: No more diving boards

At a meeting last night, a Cincinnati Recreation Commission staffer stated that an internal decision has been made that deep-water pools shall be eliminated, except when they are at a community center. I have a lot to say about this, but I want to do a little research first about costs and number of community centers. My only question today is: What gives these city employees the right to decide these issues and what informs their decision?

The CRC hired a consultant to study the condition of all the pools. I would like to see this report, but according to CRC staff, there is no formal, written report that the public can view. "Just trust us, the report says that the pools are old, and need replacement or removal". How is it that private swim clubs continue to use the same pools for 50 years or more? Oh, maybe they do maintenance. Maybe they value the huge investment made by previous generations.

There is a tendency in bureaucracies to have construction projects (capital improvements). The budget for ongoing maintenance and operations is always under siege by politicians and the bureaucrat response is to delay maintenance and then propose to re-build new. That is what we have with the pools, and I accept it as a given.

How much more expensive is it to build and run a deepwater pool as compared to a regular pool and compared to the two-different levels of splash grounds? Obviously a simple splash ground with no fence and no lifeguards is very cheap. However, my feeling is that a fancy splash ground/shallow pool, such as the Otto Armleder Pool at Hanna Park is more expensive to build and to maintain as a deepwater pool. But the decision has been made that the deepwater pools will be axed. I think this decision should be challenged.

I will discuss in future posts why deepwater pools are so important.

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