Key decisions needed for public swimming pool decision

Published 12:12 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NATCHEZ — Natchez and Adams County need to make some key decisions before the idea of a public swimming pool can hold water.

That’s what Demery Grubbs, the Adams County Board of Supervisor’s finance advisor, told board members Monday.

The issue of building a swimming pool was recently raised when the committee designated how to distribute community development donations made by Magnolia Bluffs Casino recently approached Supervisors President Darryl Grennell about it. The matter came up again Monday during a broader discussion of the county’s finances.

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The committee has proposed donating $500,000 over two years, and has asked the county to match it with another $500,000.

But when Grubbs asked the board who would own or manage the facility, they didn’t have a lot of clear answers other than it would serve as part of phase I in a consolidated recreation program.

“It’s not our place to tell you to do the pool or not do the pool — that’s your decision,” Grubbs said. “There are going to have to be some decisions about location, management and commitment. Before you can finalize financing, you are going to need to know who is going to manage it or run it.

“We have to have a definitive structure as regards ownership before we can structure the financing.”

The board instructed its attorney, Scott Slover, to meet with finance attorney Sam Keyes to discuss possible ownership scenarios and present them with plans of how the facility might be owned and financed based on that ownership.

The board members also agreed to meet with representatives from the Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission to discuss the matter, and agreed to sit down with each other sometime within the week to discuss the pool and other items they might want included in the first phase of a recreation plan.

The Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission has existed for more than five years with the stated goal of develop a consolidated recreation program for the City of Natchez and Adams County.

Even though voters passed a non-binding referendum supporting one proposal — a $5 million recreation complex — in 2009, little has happened as county and city officials have disagreed on which course to take in the development of the program.