27 November 2007

Washington Park Meeting Review

I only heard half the meeting because I was taking turns with my wife watching the kids, but the presentation on the new Washington Park Design was very emotional and contentious. Many pool users and pool supporters were there. Our lifeguard, Audrey was there to speak about how important the swim team is to the neighborhood and how the basketball court is in demand. There were some very angry people. A lot of this anger could have been avoided if the pool issue had been honestly debated last year when this process started.

And much of the anger could still be resolved if the Recreation Commission would step up to the plate and say "yes, OTR will have an outdoor deepwater pool, somewhere". Seems so simple. However I talked with several people from the CRC and they flatly say that this will not happen (even though a CRC representative stated that Ziegler would be converted to a deepwater pool at the second public presentation about the design of the park).

So here we are, a year into the design process, and we are just now finding out that not only is the Washington Park Pool proposed to be removed, but so is Ziegler Pool and Inwood Pool (halfway up Vine), Mt. Adams Pool and Fairview Pool. Also the Concourse Fountain is proposed to be drained and made into an automated sprayground without lifeguards. These decisions were made a few months ago by the Recreation Commission and will result in no place to have swim team or diving boards in the downtown/OTR neighborhoods. The only public diving boards in the entire basin area will be the two at Lincoln Pool in the West End. And while 5 pools citywide will be demolished, and 10 functioning pools turned into automated spray grounds, other neighborhoods for some reason get to keep their pools.

One good piece of information that I picked up on is that the Washington Park Pool will remain as it is and will operate for at least two more years, perhaps longer depending on if they ever get funding for the renovations and for the Music Hall Parking garage. By then maybe my family will be out of debt and able to afford a private pool membership.

Tough luck poor kids, only sprinklers for you.

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