COLUMN: Lack of pool is becoming embarrassment

-A A +A
By John Herndon

A story in Saturday’s Lexington Herald-Leader got the journalistic juices flowing.

The story examined what some pools in Georgetown were doing to comply with a new state law requiring covers over drains in swimming pools.

Knowing a good angle, even if it’s borrowed, when  I see one, I thought it would be good to find out how this is going in Anderson County.

Except for one minor difficulty.

Anderson County doesn’t have a public pool.

The county hasn’t had one for several years and I guess most county residents will have to really go jump in a lake or river or pool in another town if they want to cool off.

And, unless I have totally missed something, there is no reason to think things will change in the forseeable future.

That is beyond a shame. It is ridiculous.

A few weeks ago, the Lawrenceburg City Council proposed a spray garden for Legion Park. Such a move should be commended but it is like treating a deep six-inch gash with a Band-Aid. It might help, is actually an improvement, but is a long way from being the final solution.

Think about it. Signs on each end of town welcome visitors to a friendly, growing community.

A growing community with over 9,000 people without a public pool that is. What kind of image is that?

Here’s one that believes the county should go all out to plan an indoor facility with an outdoor pool, similar to those at Falling Springs in Versailles or Clear Creek in Shelbyville.

Both of those facilities also have gyms that house the local youth basketball, walking tracks and fitness centers.

But given the history of Anderson County government’s lack of commitment to providing quality recreational facilities, something on that scale will be later rather than sooner.

Much later.

But what about something on a smaller scale, just a standard recreational pool?

It can’t take that long to build, and would not take that much to staff. So why is something that would benefit so many people still no closer to reality in July of 2009 than it was five years ago?

Is that the mark of a growing community?

I think you know the answer.

There is little doubt that these are tough economic times and some projects are being scaled back or delayed. That’s understandable.

What isn’t understandable or acceptable is that a recreational water facility is nowhere in sight.

I will interject that this is not my personal agenda. My swimming is usually limited to when I am on the road and occasionally take a dip in a hotel pool.

However, when taking a quick trip Fourth of July trip and noticing pools in other communities packed, it becomes apparent that Anderson County’s powers that be are dragging their feet.

I can also remember spending many days – too many summers ago –  in the old city pool at Legion Park. That was one of those simple pleasures that we took for granted until it was gone for good. Why are the kids growing up here now deprived of the same?

Getting Anderson County to the point of worrying about safely covering the drains of a recreational pool is going to require some foresight, hard work and creative financing. I admit I don’t have all the answers in that last area.

What I do know is this: Those that believe Anderson County can have a first-rate water facility and those that say the county can’t are both correct.

E-mail John Herndon at jpherndon@theandersonnews.com.