City, county need to find pool solution

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 4, 2001

A lot of talk has been floating around town lately about recreation – particularly the future of the county’s only public pool.

Unfortunately, the Duncan Park pool is all but a goner. Chances of it ever opening again look shallow.

However no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, so we must sort of read between the lines to reach that conclusion.

Now is the time when everyone will jump up and say &uot;yes, we need to do something. They should have done something about this years ago.&uot;

Agreed. Maintenance and repairs of the Duncan Park pool has cost the City of Natchez a fortune for several years.

And, yes, something should have been done before now.

But what’s really needed in this situation is for our community leaders – both the elected ones and the regular citizens who stand up and show their concern – isn’t fingerpointing. We need to act quickly to resolve this problem.

Often these issues will go nowhere as folks make the issue more complicated than necessary.

Discussions of the much-debated St. Catherine Creek Recreation Complex, also known as the &uot;beanfield&uot; project, include great plans for all sorts of facilities including the possibility of an indoor pool. And the project needs to keep moving ahead. However, at this point it’s not going to help solve the immediate need.

In the short term, the solution may be much simpler. The city and county need to work together in order to solve the issue at hand.

Leaders should seek a quick solution to fill the interim before the St. Catherine Creek Complex gets off the ground.

Ultimately taxpayers – and the future taxpayers who’ll get the most out of a public pool – expect more recreation opportunities for their tax money.

Currently Natchez has an excellent golf facility in Duncan Park and a number of quality parks scattered around various neighborhoods.

And the recent of addition of the Sprayground at North Natchez Park is an excellent addition to the city’s recreational arsenal, but it simply doesn’t replace the pool.

This isn’t a problem for the City of Natchez, either. Adams County leaders need to step up and be noticed in this debate as well.

Recreation is one of those issues that cut across the Natchez city limit. City and county residents both utilize recreational facilities.

Last year, the county-owned horse barns were removed which also served as a wonderful recreation opportunity for those interested in horses. And, while it was time for the barns to be moved, the barns have yet to be replaced.

Taken as separate incidents the closing of the Duncan Park pool and the horse barns aren’t earth-shattering events.

But each affects, even if in a small manner, the quality of life in Natchez and Adams County.

Together they illustrate a troubling trend – recreation doesn’t get the funding that it deserves.

City and county leaders, I am sure, are doing the best they can to struggle with the delicate balance required to keep our roads paved, neighborhoods safe and clean water flowing. But recreation can be as important in terms of keeping the community happy, and it shouldn’t be overlooked.

Kevin Cooper is managing editor of The Democrat. He can be reached at (601) 445-3541 or by e-mail at kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.