Public pool is a must have for all towns

Published 2:10 am Sunday, June 24, 2007

Recent splashes over the future of Ferriday’s public pool have sparked renewed interest in the dried-up Duncan Park pool in Natchez.

Closed in 2001 after years of expensive repair and upkeep costs, the pool was begrudgingly drained with the hopes of all that a replacement would soon be built.

The thought at the time was that the money being spent each year to repair and maintain the 1940s pool would be better spent by investing it into a new facility.

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So here we are six years later and what do we have to show for our time and “saved” tax dollars?

All of those “saved” repair dollars seem to have slipped into other expense accounts and the youth, particularly the poor youth, of the city and county have been pushed by the wayside.

At what point will our community realize that spending money on recreation isn’t just an expense, but it’s an investment in the future?

Will an industry’s decision to locate here hinge upon whether or not a public pool exists?

Probably not.

But an area’s public amenities speak volumes about a community’s pride, togetherness and, more important, the quality of life residents expect whether young or old, rich or poor.

We’ve been sitting on our hands for six years. The tiny souls who would enjoy the pool can’t vote and they don’t pay taxes, but they’re immensely vital to our area. The pool — and the greater issue of recreation as a whole — is not merely a city problem. It’s a city-county opportunity.

City aldermen and county supervisors need to realize this and take some action before another summer is lost to their complacency.