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Finding uses for the old city pool

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By Jesse Osbourne

 

Some of my earliest memories are of the city pool.
I first learned to splash around in the baby pool. I vividly remember visiting my Washington County relatives and spending time at the pool.
My Little League team, which was in Loretto, came to Springfield for our end of season pool party.  
Those are some good memories. The pool was something I looked forward to every summer.
Somewhere along the way, the pool grew to be a burden on the city.
I don’t know the backstory, I’m sure almost everyone else does.
Pools have a way of becoming burdens, especially the in-ground variety.
A family friend also had a pool when I was growing up. If I’m not mistaken, I believe they filled it in with dirt after struggling for years to maintain and repair it.
Over the past several months, well, years, the city has been trying to figure out how to utilize the city pool property.
The property has restrictions on it through a grant that was awarded for the property years ago.
The way I understand it, if the city were to outright sell the property, they would have to convert the funds into new park space.
Recently there has been talk about a community garden, green space and other ideas.
At the last city council meeting on May 8, the mayor and the city administrator sought input from the council and the community.
What does the community think the pool property should be used for?
Council member Lisa Haydon started inquiring about the pool a few months back, and later met with SWEDA Director Hal Goode to see what they could come up with.
They came up with a slew of ideas just from searching the Internet.
As an outsider, I do see the importance of converting the property into something more useful.
If nothing else, maybe  the pool gets filled in and becomes green space.
I think there are better solutions than that, but I don’t have the vision to know what those solutions are.
A community garden sounds enticing to me, but you have to have capable people tending to it.
Is the interest there to maintain a community garden? And, if the garden exists, what happens to the produce?
(I’m heavily in favor of a community garden if it means I can have an occasional fresh sliced tomato. Just sayin’.)
I know there are creative people in the community. I’ve met some of you.
Do the community and the city a favor and weigh in on this topic. What should happen to the old pool property?
Should it sit, unused, for longer? Or should it be converted? If converted, into what?