A few weeks back, Williamsport’s mayor welcomed hundreds of swimmers of the Greater Susquehanna Valley Aquatic League (GSVAL) Championship meet to the East End Pool and invited them back next year to the new pool at Memorial Park (East End is scheduled to close at the end of this summer, see here). A few days later, the Williamsport Sun Gazette wrote an article describing how disappointed the mayor was in the community’s effort to assist in some fundraising for the pool (see here). Now the editorial staff of the same paper (can be viewed within the blog posting) has also chimed in and is wondering if a pool is even necessary or wanted because of the community’s poor support and effort in this project.
A few comments on the editorial and more….
· The paper makes the comment that private pools are more plentiful as a possible reason for the muted fundraising response. Private pools are great for those who 1) have the monies to buy and maintain a backyard pool and 2) have the space. For those that don’t have monies and space, it appears you are screwed. Go jump in a puddle!
· What is up with this end of Williamsport? First, the basketball hoops are taken down (see here, here and here) and now some community leaders are questioning the need for a swimming pool (Williamsport, a town of 30,000 will be left without a public pool when the East End Pool closes the end of this summer). For those that can afford a private pool, no problem. Others will still need to find that puddle.
· The Area Development Magazine listed Williamsport as a top 10 leader amongst small US cities in economic strength and recession busting (here). That is great but what is the city going to offer or showcase to new families that might be tempted to move into the area to take advantage of this economic strength. Current residents will already have the prime puddles marked out.
· Williamsport’s community, businesses, and leaders open up their arms to the youth of the world as teams and their families pour into Williamsport during the Little League World Series. Why aren’t our leaders and businesses opening up their arms to recreation for the residents of the city?
· Where is Williamsport’s swimming community? Some of the staunchest supporters of pools are swim team parents and are often the core of pool movements. However, the lack of swim team parent action is not much of a surprise as Williamsport’s winter YMCA swim team (the River Valley Raiders) folded many years ago. The summer swim team is a shell of its former self as it is now one of the smaller teams in the 13 team GSVAL (despite being the largest city in the league and central Pennsylvania).
Jersey Shore, just to the west of Williamsport, also has some pool issues (badly needed repairs). Like Williamsport, the community has been asked to raise $50,000. Jersey Shore, a town of 4,500 has collected just over $14,000 in cash and checks and has another $9,950 in pledges to the campaign. That is just over $24,000 in two months (see here for more info on their fundraising). Compare that to Williamsport (remember, a town of around 30,000) has only raised $3,000 in eight months (see here).
Could it be that folks from Jersey Shore would rather not swim in puddles?