Letter: Plenty of reasons to support new outdoor pool
Swimming and hot summer days go hand in hand. This summer we enjoyed great weather, but finding an outdoor pool large enough for older kids to swim in was a challenge. We enjoy the new YMCA aquatics center and find it a great option for cooler days, but on those hot summer days we need to be outside soaking up the summer sun.
The outdoor pool at the YMCA works for younger kids in small numbers, but as the kids get older and the groups get larger there simply is not enough room. We need a large outdoor pool that provides amenities for all ages. These include a zero entry with equipment for young kids adjusting to the water, a shallow area for the emerging swimmers, a big lap swimming area that can double as a free-play area for tag or a game of catch, and a deep end that has diving boards and full-size slides for people of all ages.
Parents have talked at length about the community lacking resources and safe places for our kids to go. An outdoor pool facility would provide just that. At the old pool the middle school and high school kids would hang out in their own section laughing, having fun, and in a monitored setting. They were away from the screen time in the outdoors in a place parents could feel good about. We need that again.
I was told by a city council member that a new pool is not on their radar, and that families could utilize the outdoor pools in cities around us. I understand the need to support our surrounding communities, but doesn't that take revenue away from Worthington? If families came here to swim for the day, would that not generate retail dollars?
My other thought on going out of town is that works for parents who have the time off and can load up their kids for a fun day outing, but what about those kids whose parents work during the day? At the old pool, kids could hop on their bikes and ride to the pool in the afternoon. That won't work if you need to go to Lakefield or Sibley.
I think it is wonderful that we are teaching all second-graders how to swim through the Jami Cummings program, but what happens after those lessons? Don't we need to make access to a safe swimming facility available so they can continue to develop as swimmers? The YMCA does a great job of providing swim time to summer school students and daycares, but that often makes for a crowded swim deck and again reduces space for older kids to swim.
We need to look at an outdoor pool as a quality of life issue. We have done a great job with our city parks and our bike paths, and they generate no money but greatly enhance the quality of life for families in our community. I believe an outdoor pool can do that, also.
If you believe as I do that an outdoor pool would enhance the quality of life for our families, please like us on Facebook at New Outdoor Pool for the city of Worthington. Look for us, Citizens Pooling Together, at upcoming community events. We will have information for you and petitions to sign if you support our cause.
We need citizens to help stand up for a positive change in our community. Worthington is a great place, and we can pool together to make a difference.