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Are we diving into center too quickly?

The City of Natchez is mulling over a rather curious idea to bring a wellness center to the city’s largest recreational park, Duncan Park.

The question is: Why?

That the meeting to discuss the idea was a closed-door meeting should tell us something about why this is likely a bad idea.

The meeting included local hospital, health department leaders as well as a smattering of elected city and county representatives.

Presumably, the hospital representatives were there to ensure the city wasn’t about to start sucking patients away from their facilities. Most others were likely there just to hear why on earth such a thing seems wise.

But all of that is just a guess since the public wasn’t at the table. What could have been discussed that was necessary to hide from the taxpayers who actually own Duncan Park?

Mayor Butch Brown, who earlier had dubbed the potential site as a health care complex, said he had misspoken about the complex’s nature.

Instead, he suggested the proposal might include a swimming pool and an indoor track among other amenities, including fitness and workout facilities.

The last time we checked, our community was home to several commercial gyms and workout facilities, presumably all of which pay taxes and potentially would have to compete with whatever might be built.

If the plan is really just an elaborate scheme to build a public swimming pool, why not simply say so and make a plan to build a pool?

Better yet, could the city simply open up its pool in the basement of the Natchez Senior Center for full public use, or if it does so, market it better and extend the hours?

Natchez needs a public swimming pool, but it would seem better for taxpayers if it could be constructed under the auspices of a YMCA or some other organization or at the least, not under the guise of a new wellness complex that involves public property, but is discussed only behind closed doors.