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City should find a way to keep pools open longer

By Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

It is the middle of August and the City of Manhattan has closed the public swimming pools just as the Kansas summer heat sets in! Given the climate change we are seeing, the city’s pools could easily stay open until the end of September, and if the weather held, to the middle of October. What is up with the Parks and Recreation Department? 

Before we voted on the sales-tax issue that provided the funding for the new pools, I asked during one of the many meetings about the new pools if they would remain open longer. I remember being told that the pools would remain open past the start of school. So, why aren’t they?

The sorry state of reality I have repeatedly observed in my 16 years here in Manhattan is that there is limited, if any, thinking outside the box when it comes to the people making the decisions in the city’s offices.

I’ve been repeatedly told that the reason the pools can’t stay open is that there aren’t life-guards. Maybe, just maybe, if city employees looked to a different age group than the 16-26 cohort, they would discover that there are people who are certified lifeguards and who could cover limited pool hours once USD 383 reopens for another academic year. 

I would be interested in seeing the cost analysis of keeping the pools open in the evenings and on the weekends through Sep-tember. Considering what it costs to get in, I don’t believe that the pools are a losing proposition for the city, especially since we property owners are the people who in the end foot the bill for the city’s expenses with our property taxes.

Not everyone who lives in Manhattan is tied to the high school’s athletic program or the Parks and Rec athletic programs but would still like to engage in low-impact physical activity. The swimming pools offer just such an option, but once again, those of us who would use them are not considered in the equation.

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