At last week’s city council meeting, Beth Peter, president of the Peabody-Burns Recreation Commission told the council that $20,000 had been set aside from the rec budget to help the city pay for repairs to the municipal swimming pool.
How about that? Repairs to the swimming pool liner are estimated to cost $28,000. An additional $8,000 will be needed for a new pool cover before winter weather sets in. That is a grand total of $36,000 just to be able to open the doors in May 2015.
If your children enjoy the Peabody pool or participate in swim team, you need to make it a point to thank the rec commission members for generously choosing to support the swimming pool. The rec commission’s operating budget comes from tax dollars assessed throughout the school district. The money is ear-marked to pay for summer recreation activities for Peabody and Burns students and winter recreation activities geared toward adult education and recreation, as well as trips that would appeal to all ages.
The Peabody swimming pool was built in 1962 by donations from local businesses, clubs, and individuals. At the time it was as good a facility as any around. It is now more than 50 years old and is in need of annual maintenance and repair. The liner that will be installed is needed to keep the pool bottom and walls from shifting and cracking. A liner is not a permanent fix; it will do its job for only five to 10 years.
The pool cover serves much the same purpose. It keeps debris, leaves, trash, and other waste from falling into the pool, sinking to the bottom, and contributing to further deterioration of the pool sides and bottom. A cover also allows the city to leave the pool filled with water, which helps stabilize the structure. Uncovered during the winter, the sides and bottom would be exposed to weather variations that would speed up deterioration.
Few parks and pools in the country pay their own way. They generally are an expense for every community that installs them. They are what are called “quality of life” amenities – those things that we want in the communities in which we live. They will not support themselves, but they add to what we enjoy about our towns. Peabody City Park and the pool are no different. They operate in the red every year.
However, we appreciate having them and are willing to have our tax dollars supplement them. When we approach a crisis issue such as finding $36,000 in the city budget to keep the swimming pool open for a few more years, it is often a nightmare for council members who have to figure out what to cut to keep the pool open.
So support from the recreation commission is a huge factor for you and your family. Learning to swim, participating in swim team or water aerobics, becoming Red Cross certified, or enjoying an afternoon at the pool several times a week are activities that will continue.
Let the recreation commission members know you are grateful to have the pool open for a few more years. I expect it was not an easy decision to make, spending that kind of money on one project. Let them know you appreciate what they have done.