Natchez needs a swimming pool now

Published 12:51 am Friday, June 29, 2007

Thanks for bringing forth the subject of a pool for Natchez again.

I just wanted to again encourage our town to consider a YMCA for adults and children. It may solve the lack of a pool debate. It would be great to have a professionally run YMCA that is unbiased and based on Christian principles. It is also affordable for everyone.

I feel the Natchez politics on recreation will forever be one of apathy and excuses. Our leaders are being paid for these positions, and we hear only negatives about possibilities for a pool — and the aldermen want raises.

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Leaders create monumental proposals that include everything at once, instead of starting with the pool. Big goals are met by meeting smaller goals first. If we start with the pool, we can add other types of recreation, step by step. We have golf, tennis courts, baseball fields but we do not have a pool.

I am sure all the people in the position to help build a pool have a pool that they are members of in Natchez. It seems like paving and enlarging gravel roads — like cemetery roads that no one even uses much — is more important than our youth. It is obvious that people just don’t care enough about other people’s children, though I am sure they care about their own.

It is not impossible to make this a priority and take immediate action. We should be seeing a pool being built this summer to give us all hope, but especially our town’s youth.

I have been driving down Martin Luther King Jr. St. in the evenings, especially Thursday through Saturday night. High-school children are hanging out in parking lots, where they can see their friends, and get out of a house that may not even be air-conditioned. Is this the only spot for our kids to hang out and socialize? Is this embracing our diversity and youth in Natchez? Is this Christian?

Are we just leaving young adults to fend for themselves, find their way and hope it turns out okay for them in this extremely dangerous world? And this is what we are doing. We are setting them up to fall, quickly, tragically and to be forever scarred.

One Friday night, one violent CD, one person losing hope suddenly, one person using some drug, one child trying to prove themselves by becoming pregnant or impregnating someone, one person feeling humiliated, degraded, and utterly neglected, one person blowing up and hurting someone and ending up in jail for decades or life. This is all happening while people are comfortable at home or work, playing Natchez politics. We are sick of it.

Here’s a proposal. Turn the old Wal-Mart building into a YMCA. Have an indoor pool. Make part of the parking lot a skateboard rink. Have healthy sandwich shops, smoothies and other YMCA facilities in the other shops in the mall.

Reusing abandoned buildings will help Natchez, prevent eyesores and help our youth. An indoor track around the pool would be great for seniors to stay in shape as well. A YMCA is also good for tourism and the economy — our key words in Natchez.

I would like to help in some way.

Shirley Byrne

Natchez resident