Thursday, February 26, 2009
Committee, petitioners push for swimming pool
By BARRY BURLESON
A group of citizens was back before the Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen last week requesting a swimming pool.
Spokesperson Al Beck presented city leaders with a written summary and also talked about the need for the facility.
The swimming pool committee had previously submitted a petition containing more than 500 signatures in support.
“We ask you to look at the petition and read our request and do something for the citizens,” Beck said. “We hope you return an answer by the first meeting in March. And hopefully it will be a positive answer for not just the kids, but I will be there splashing myself.”
On June 3, 2008, Mayor Andre’ DeBerry announced the pool on Valley Street would be closed again for the summer. Problems cited were costly repairs, no lifeguards and lack of liability insurance.
A citizens committee was formed to study the feasibility of repairing the swimming pool. The committee was composed of chairman Victor Donald Street, Anthony McKinnon, Paul Lampley, Harvey Payne, alderman Naylond Hayes, Lieutenant Jeffries, Albert Jones, Travis Isom, Mrs. Ronnie Robinson, state representative Kelvin Buck, W.A. McMillan Sr. and Beck.
According to the report submitted last week to the mayor and aldermen, the committee met several times and got figures from insurance companies, resurfacing experts, painters and pool experts. The committee submitted its findings to the board June 17, 2008, and found that the pool could be put in use with safe conditions for less than $19,000, rather than the board’s estimate of more than $100,000. The committee pledged to help in raising the $19,000.
“At the July 1, 2008, meeting the board ignored the committee’s findings and voted to officially close the pool,” the committee’s written report stated. “To avoid the pending injunction against closure, the board had the pool filled up with dirt.”
The committee then proceeded to do a survey of citizens and circulate the petition.
Beck said the committee and the petitioners are asking the board of aldermen to place a swimming pool as a number one priority in its budget.
“We request you, our city fathers, consider making available a pool for the swimming season of 2009,” he said.
A suggested location, the committee stated, is Sam Coopwood Park, but the location of the pool is left to the board of aldermen.
Beck, a lifelong resident of Holly Springs, talked about growing up in the city, walking to get ice and going by where the pool was located back then.
“I had ice to turn cream but the kids in that pool were having lots more fun,” he said. “I’d never been in a pool.”
He said later when the pool on Valley Street was built he attended the old junior high school and he could remember looking out the window and wanting to go to that pool.
“The pool was a sense of pride for us in the community,” he said.
He said crime is a problem in every city, including Holly Springs, and every expert says, “We don’t give kids enough to do.”
He said again that the recreational needs of the people of Holly Springs should be a top priority.
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