MILLEDGEVILLE — Two years ago Baldwin County Commissioners engaged in a lengthy debate regarding the future of the public swimming pool at Walter B. Williams Park. Since then that pool has remained dormant, the result of neglect and repairs that went unheeded.
Tuesday evening the door for new discussion on the public swimming pool was re-opened. However, if this conversation is ever truly intended to be of value to the recreation department and to the community, a sound assessment of dollars and sense is needed. The county should take this opportunity to compile concrete figures on the true cost of making the necessary repairs and upgrades and the current swimming pool and assess the financials for a brand new water park and see once and for all if either of these options is truly possible. Only then will the county and the community be able to assess which is the best option and make a decision one way or another.
Either option — a new pool or repairs to the existing one — must be self-sustaining or it should not be considered. Otherwise it becomes an additional drain on taxpayers. If these financial assessments do not include a means by which the pool can feasibly be maintained — with proper upkeep and staffing — then it’s not the right answer for Baldwin County.
If the current pool’s years of disrepair is any indication as to how this new expensive water park will be kept up, then the community — and especially the commissioners themselves — must question how any pool, new or newly repaired, will be maintained before tax monies are to be invested in such an expansive project.
Tight budgets have made it difficult enough to maintain the current recreation facilities, and pouring more dollars into another facility that can’t be maintained is not a sound investment.