News Obits School/Sports Community Opinion

— Every time the issue of closing the city swimming pool comes up in city council, I can’t help but write an editorial.

Maybe it’s because I’m sentimental. Looking back at all the summers I spent at the Decatur pool, I hate the thought of it closing.

I want my children to be able to continue enjoying the pool the way I did. Compared to other public pools, Decatur is a lot more pre-schooler friendly. The pool isn’t a writhing mass of shouting kids, so it’s not a constant struggle to keep an eye on your child. The rest rooms are so much cleaner, and its close enough to home that you canjust wrap your kid in a towel and shower them at home rather than trying to dry them off and clean them up in a nasty bathroom because they will inevitably fall asleep on a long drive home.

These are hard economic times. Families are hurting and having to cut back on many expenditures, especially the ones that are “just for fun.” Without a pool in Decatur, parents will have to drive their kids to Siloam Springs or Bentonville to go swimming. The extra time and expense will mean that swimming will be a treat, not an everyday activity for kids.

One thing I noticed last summer is that, while attendance at the city pool often dwindled, Crystal Lake was always packed with swimmers. I imagine the reason is because it’s free to swim in the lake but it costs money to swim in the pool.

Most people who have lived in Decatur for more than 20 years remember what Crystal Lake looks like without water in it. Even though I was a strong swimmer as a kid - Icompeted on a local swim team and was even invited to join the University of Arkansas swim team - my parents didn’t allow me to swim in Crystal lake as a child or teenager for good reason. Crystal Lake is very deep. As I recall, about twenty feet from shore, or maybe less, there is a significant bluff that drops of quite a long ways. I can’t say how deep because as I remember - when I was probably less than four feet tall - it looked like the grand canyon, but it was deep enough to impress my dad.

For my peace of mind, I would much rather pay an admission fee so my kids can swim in a safe, controlled environment with a trained lifeguard to help me keep watch over them.

City officials are asking residents for suggestions on how to make the pool financially viable and keep it open. I hope there are other people in the community that will show the city council they care about keeping the pool open and maybe someone will have a creative idea on

Opinion, Pages 5 on 11/18/2009

Print Headline: A Second Opinion I Hate to Think It Could Close

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