Time to sink or swim… again

Even as late as 5 minutes before last night’s City Council session, my conversations with some Council members led me to think there was little chance that any kind of swimming pool would find its way onto the November ballot.  The unanimous decision to include a $10M pool in the $20M Parks & Rec bond shows what I know about reading tea leaves. 

In the end I think several on the council copped a ”what the hell” stance and figured that, perhaps, the third time might be a charm and determined – as Councilman Methany said – “…We deserve a swimming pool“.  And he’s right… we do.  But we also need to do a much better job of providing the funds for taking care of the facilities we have.

So, will the full body of the Greensboro P&R Commission be further miffed because of this vote.  Naw, I doubt it.  We recognized the need for such a facility and recommended that one go before the voters in 2010.  Corraling the financial support of the swimming community and good planning, we thought, would be key to getting the thing done; and that would take some time.  We now have a scant 120 days to sell the idea.  It is what it is.

The big questions now, (except, of course, for the actual November vote) are: where to site the facility and will the swim community step up to the plate to not only get the bond passed, but also raise an additional $5M to get the facility they really want.

This entry was posted in Greensboro Politics. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

7 Comments

  1. David Wharton
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    As bond public hearings go, it was a fairly interesting evening. I’m pretty sure that the P&R motion by Mike Barber included $12 million for a pool.

    I was impressed with Ted Oliver’s response to Bill Knight, after Knight said that Cary had built a pool with private money, why can’t we? Oliver responded that the RTP has FOUR publicly-funded indoor competitive pools. Greensboro, zero. And the outdoor Lindley complex is in sad shape.

    One other little problem with the N&R story — it identified me as speaking in favor of the downtown greenway & bicycle safety, when I actually spoke for the Summit Ave. street improvements, and didn’t say a word about bikes.

    But what the heck — I support the greenway and I’m a bicycle commuter, too. “Fake but accurate.”

  2. mick
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all who attended last night. You are right DH. It is what it is. I sincerely hope the swim community will rise to the occasion and get significant pledges to augment the 12 million on the ballot. I agree with you that approaching the bond in a year or so with $5 mill in hand would have been advantageous. The greenway folks certainly impressed me with the $4 mill they brought to the table. I do have reservations about the other 100+ million though. Not the needs. But couldnt we have split that up a bit and voted on pieces or presented a smaller amount. I feel double dog dared to vote it down.

    Is there anything we at The Greensboro Swimming Assoc can do for you guys at P&R? Trish Martin, Ted Oliver, Don Gilchrist and Carl LaBonge are extremely well versed in this arena. You may have met with them already.

    I would have liked to ask Bill Knight about where his grandaughter swam prior to TAC. The answer would be nowhere or in a publically funded pool.

    Just a little bitchin, but we were repeatedly asked or told to build a pool ourselves. Pocket change one guy referred to. No one but DBS asked the same question of the army of Irving Park residences in line to speak in favor of WMA. Aren’t art patrons famous for that?

    As I have said elsewhere, here’s my plan…. The WMA folks raise 15 mill to come off their 50 and we get 5 mill to add to our 12! I wonder of GCS has a million or two stashed for a rainy day? Nah

    If you need any info just ask. I am positive The GSA Board will do anything to help out. USA Swim has a wealth of info and an interest in helping out.

    Mick

    PS: Hillsborough also has a pool. It was built with private money then failed and is now owned by a municipality of some sort.

  3. mc
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I was at the meeting last night and it was good to see what you look like after reading your blog for the past year. I think the swim folks shot themselves in the foot pushing for a regional pool. 120 days is not a lot of time to convince the general public for 1) the need and 2)that enough logistics have been worked out to make this a viable initiative. At least we know where the bond funds for War Memorial will go, most have physically been there. I hope the swim community pulls together to get support–and that they make provisions for those not able to afford private pools to have access to this publicly funded pool. Saw lots of white kids and their mid to high income parents at the meeting last night…..

  4. mick
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    One of our goals at GSA is to attract more minority athletes. It aint easy. One of the advantages to this facility will be more pool space and more pool time for swim programs. It is a struggle due mainly to transportation issues. We can give the program away but the kids cant get there and back home. It is very difficult. We have a handful of minority swimmers some are low income some are not. Sorry they were unable to attend last night for you. We try.

    Yes, swimming is primarily white and middle to upper income folks. It is expensive, we know. There is only so much we can do. Particularly with so little exposure to minority or low income families. You see, competitive swimming is a pain in the ass in this town due to logistics which of course is due to the lack of pools. Circular aint it?

    Why no comment on the make up of the WMA supporters. I recollect most were from Irving Park, probably far from middle class and all were white. Care to comment there? Or did you just note the make up of the pool supporters?

  5. mc
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Mick
    Yes the WMA supporters were also white upper class but given that Hogg’s posting was about the pool I thought to limit my comments about socioeconomic status of swimmers present as it was most germaine to the pool. I understand transportation issues often prevent lower socioeconomic and situtionationaly disadvantaged youth from participating, perhaps the “powers that be” could be convinced this state of the art pool be placed in SE GSO rather than another quadrant of GSO. To me, that would show some “walk the walk vs talk the talk” commitment to opening the pool up to all

  6. Phil F
    Posted July 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    To David’s point, we do need to do a MUCH better job in taking better care of the public facilities that we already have. In the case of public aquatic facilities, for instance, funding to improve Lindley Park, Grimsley Indoor, and other pools could have been greater over the years resulting in more viable, efficient facilities today.

  7. mick
    Posted July 18, 2008 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    I think the most likely site to be chosen is once again the general CVM area. Existing parking is a huge factor. Canada Dry anyone? We have pool time at Smith and Grimsley and still cant get folks there. Its more than just what part of town the pool needs to be located.

    The “regional” version would need convenienet access to 40/85, urban loop, etc. CVM works. An easy observation: the majority of current swimmers are NW quadrant of city/county.

    Moneys to existing pools in SE is key for the long term. Programs offering water safety and swim lessons are a must. Ideally this exposure would then feed into competitive swimming. We are leaving so much on the table in this town.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] might be important, $10.2M, (not $12M) swim center as a part of the ballot.  A majority of Council agreed… and here we [...]

  2. [...] was your City Council who did the deed to which you are referring.  And by placing it on the ballot, they went AGAINST the recommendations of the [...]