Friday, April 14, 2006

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances -

Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances - Laurel & Lance: To Dormont. Its deteriorating public swimming pool dating from 1920 will require millions in repairs. Perhaps a patch job is possible for now. Perhaps not. Residents are setting up a grass-roots campaign to raise private money. That's great. Now politicians are falling all over themselves to find public funds. Our question: Why should providing for summertime frolic be a taxpayer duty?
Because a 50-meter swim pool -- or one that is even bigger -- can't fit under you bed like an exercise rower.

Because our children are obese -- and same too with too many of our adults. Hey, I got to shed 10-or-15 pounds too. And, I hope to do so as I'm gearing up for the Pittsburgh Triathlon -- and its river swim.

Because we don't swim in the rivers any more, as often as we did.

Because swimming, as a skill, can one day save your life.

Because swimming is a community builder and experience for learning how to play well with others.

Because a community assets such as a swim pool not only make life better for the people of all ages, but the facilities can increase home values and property demands. And, because the facility, all in all, should be able to pull its own weight as well.

Case in point: The Dormont Pool was slated to cost the municipality $37,000. I'd say that if it was run better -- it could be an asset that costs nothing to operate. The user fees should and could pay for the facility's operation, year in and year out.

But, sadly, the Trib editors are correct. The patch job for the pool and for the bath house is NOT possible for now. The expenses are too great. The time is too short. The season is lost.

That grass-roots campaign to raise private money had earned just $3,500 early in the week. That is nice, but 50-times less than what is needed.

Furthermore, don't put me in the realm of falling all over self and other politicians to find the public funds for a fix up. I'll stand tall, talk, think, share and plan. But, not fall over.

I don't think summertime frolic should be a taxpayer duty.

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