Guest Opinion: Pool criticism is misdirected

    The Senior Center has been one of the local stories for 2017 and it should be. Providing adequate services to our seniors is a high priority. It is disturbing that some of the advocates for the Senior Center are singling out efforts to upgrade the city’s only public pool.

    The city offers a variety of programs to meet the needs of our community. Public schools, libraries, Lithia Park, the skating rink, community gardens, dog parks, the Senior Center and Daniel Meyer Pool are a few examples of what our tax dollars support.

    I am uncomfortable with the efforts of some Senior Center supporters who have been misdirecting arrows at the potential pool project to better serve our community. Just because I don’t use dog parks nor never had a child in the public schools, I will continue to feel good about directing resources that support a healthy community.

    Daniel Meyer Pool and the Senior Center have at least one common characteristic. They each have been challenged with underutilized and "mediocre" facilities. I feel grateful that there may be progress for both areas in the near future.

    It is curious that some of the advocates for the Senior Center were unaware of the number of seniors who regularly utilize the pool during its currently very short swim season. On any given open lap swim day from June to August, easily half of the pool is literally swimming with seniors.

    The close proximity of the Senior Center and Daniel Meyer Pool make it a perfect addition for more senior participation. The senior program I hope to grow older with includes versatile year-round swimming at Daniel Meyer Pool with half of the year outside and November-April with a cover.

    Our youth teams certainly deserve a facility to swim and play water polo in their hometown and be able to host competitions. This in turn feeds our local economy — hotels, restaurants and shops. What’s not to love?

    One of the beauties of swimming is that it is a forgiving activity that provides exercise throughout our entire lives.

    Let’s strive to be respectful toward one another (especially when we disagree) while continuing discussions to develop needed changes. The Senior Center and the Daniel Meyer Pool are meritorious on their own and have a natural (currently untapped) partnership. Change is a constant and cultivating a process that maintains the spirit that we are all on the same team will glean greater success.

    — Risa Buck lives in Ashland.

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