Town pool to remain closed this summer

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, January 16, 2008

ferriday —While spring is still months away, much of the conversation at Tuesday’s meeting between the Ferriday Chamber of Commerce and Director of Concordia Recreational District 1 Robert Lee centered around summer activities for young people.

While District 1 will still have football, volleyball and other summertime sporting programs, one activity will be absent — swimming.

Lee said the closure of Ferriday’s town pool in May of 2007 was unfortunate but necessary.

Email newsletter signup

“It was extremely outdated,” he said.

Lee said in the 1950s, when the pool was originally built, it was in accordance with regulations.

“That’s not the case anymore though,” he said.

Lee said he sadly sees only dirt and bulldozer in the pool’s future.

Over the summer of 2007, Lee and Ferriday Mayor Gene Allen heavily debated if the pool should be open at all for community use.

Lee said after extensive analysis the pool was deemed to be totally out of compliance and simply had to be closed.

Some at the meeting questioned Lee about repairs to the pool but Lee said the drainage problems alone make the project cost prohibitive.

And cost is the main issue standing between Ferriday and a new pool.

Lee’s tax-funded budget is $76,000 per year.

What Lee called a medium-size swimming pool costs approximately $350,000.

He estimated an Olympic-size would be approximately $500,000.

Board member Liz Brooking asked Lee if he had inquired about any community improvement grants.

Lee told the audience he has begun to explore the idea of grants but feels that the town must first secure smaller grants, and efficiently use the funds before any entity would make a grant for a purchase as large as a pool.

Brooking said she hopes the town can find some solution to its pool problem.

“Kids in the community need a place to go in the summer to stay out of trouble,” Brooking said. “It keeps them active and it gives them something positive to do.”

Lee told the chamber that his district is working on a plan to install new lighting at Albert Chapman Field.

Aside from issues dealing with recreational improvement, Lee also spoke on the importance of a coming together of the recreational districts for the betterment of the community.

“We need to adopt a collective mindset,” he said. “Working together we can get more done.”