Editorial: Time to pool efforts

Ashland's parks director says there "isn't a clear path" to a new or renovated Daniel Meyer Pool. But there is clearly support for a pool project from many local swimmers and swimming groups who see the clear need for a competition-sized pool that can be used year-round.

Yes, it's expensive: Expanding the pool and installing a cover would cost $3.5 million, while rebuilding it from scratch could reach $10 million. And the operating costs would soar from $160,000 to $306,000.

It's been suggested that the Ashland and Phoenix-Talent school districts could ask their patrons to approve a bond measure next fall that would include money for the pool project, and the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission plans to ask the two districts to contribute to the higher operating costs as well. That's worth considering, but the schools shouldn't be the only source of funds. Critics of the idea say adding pool money to the measure could jeopardize passage of the school bond as a whole, and they have a point.

Adult swim groups also are keenly interested in a new pool, and not all those swimmers are Ashland residents. The parks commission should discuss the project not just with school districts, but with every interested group, with the expectation that swimming clubs and swim teams should help raise funds for the project and be prepared to pay more to use the new pool when it is finished. If everyone who stands to benefit gets involved, the project should be doable.

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