To The Editor:
Two-year-olds in Washington are not playing tennis at Phoenix Park, and most 80-year-olds are not walking on the Rotary Riverfront Trail at Rennick Park. But those two groups of citizens — and all ages of residents in between — can enjoy our city swimming pool for about 10 weeks every summer.
If our parks and recreation board was more visionary and creative, its members would be considering how to boost attendance, not close the facility on the weak logic that other towns have closed their pools because of dwindling attendance.
Our city pool is one of Washington’s finest features. Since moving here almost 20 years ago, I’ve enjoyed the lap lanes and “senior swim mornings” during approximately 300 visits to the pool. I appreciate my YMCA membership and swim often at its heavily scheduled indoor pool. But swimming outdoors in our Olympic-sized pool is a totally different, exhilarating experience. Our pool attracts families who cannot afford membership in the Y, and children who need shallower water than the Y pool provides. More people would use the city pool if the bathhouse had no steps. Our current bathhouse is ancient, dim and dank.
Washington’s parks system has some wonderful features: tennis courts, fishing sites, walking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, a butterfly garden, a dog park, and even a skateboarding facility. None of them requires a user fee. In a supreme irony, those of us who patronize the city swimming pool must pay a user fee. We pay it without complaint.
With our cash, we have demonstrated how important the city swimming pool is to us. I hope the parks board will reconsider the perceived fiscal “advantages” of closing the pool.
No swimming pool in Washington would leave a huge hole in the lives of thousands of residents who have enjoyed the physical and social benefits of swimming outdoors.