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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Community Will Live With It

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Certainly, you have heard about the addition of a swimming pool to the YMCA. The original plan, as indicated by a brochure on my desk, included a six-lane pool, 25 yards in length, which could have been used for competition events.

Several individuals made concentrated efforts to raise the funds for what was expected to be the cost at that time. The goal for raising the funds was successful, $1.5 million. This might have indicated that a pool could be constructed as planned, but this is not the case. There has been a rapid increase in the cost of materials and the pool could not be constructed as planned for the original estimated price. Instead the decision was made to cut the dimensions of the pool so that it could be constructed with the funds available.

The pool that could be constructed with an area that could be used for exercise and lessons would have three lanes only 20 yards in length, not large enough for swimming teams to practice. There were those who are of the opinion that this type of pool is far from being adequate, even suggesting that such a pool will not be adequately supported by usage. An example is the indoor pool that Lamar has. It is a small, three-lane pool and is not being utilized and may be closed.

At the present time there are more than 100 swimmers participating with the Neptunes during the summer months. They currently do not have a place to practice in Nevada during the season that the aquatic park is not open. There are 30 swimmers traveling to Webb City to practice. More would be involved if they had a place to practice, locally.

The high school girls' swim team has the opportunity to use the pool at Cottey College for practice. There is no such facility for a boys' high school team to practice if one were developed.

One lady asked, what happened to the high school swimming pool? Why did they do away with it? She was involved with swimming when it was available. I do not have the answer to that.

The aquatic park is great for the community. Still, it is used only a small portion of the year.

We were fortunate to finally get such a nice swimming facility constructed for the community. One of the things it accomplished was to eliminate a large number to go to other towns for swimming -- it kept more at home and it has brought others to the community.

Still, might it not been a better use of resources to have put a dome over the pool and constructed the pool in such a way that a portion could have been used for winter swimming? This could have been done with fewer resources from the community rather than the construction of another pool. However, these choices are in the past and do not exist.

The only choice at the present time is to construct a pool at the YMCA. Greg Hoffman and Monty Smith have stepped up and assumed the leadership in raising an additional $1 million, so that a pool can be constructed that will be built as originally planned.

The first thing needed was enough funds to add five more yards to the three 20-yard lanes. This would enable swimming teams to have a limited amount of practice. Still, it would not be adequate for swimmeets. To accomplish the additional five yards, $200,000 was required.

Swim meets bring 450 to 550 swimmers and parents and fans -- more than 1,000 people. This will bring an economic impact to the area during a lull time of the year, fall and winter. The nearest indoor pool like this is Joplin, Kansas City and Springfield. We have the advantage of being in the center of these locations. There is much to be gained by the community to host at least one swimming meet during the winter months. It makes better usage of the pool. They spend money at restaurants, filling stations and restaurants. This would have a great economic impact in the community.

The Neptunes have pledged to raise $50,000. Currently there has been another $150,000 raised to meet the expenses for the extension of the lanes. Progress is being made on the drive to attain the funds. It is against the policy of the YMCA to borrow funds for construction. The funds have to be raised in advanced.

A pledge may be paid over a three-year period. A $1,000 pledge would mean less than $30 per month. This would be a good investment in the community.

The pool that will be built is not just for the Y members or the Neptunes -- it is for the community. There are all types of possibilities. There are a great number of older people who take aquatic exercise. Swimming is a good and healthy exercise for people of all ages. It is something that could be rented for swimming parties and the county schools could utilize the pool for their students.

The clock is ticking -- there is not much time. Construction is to start this month. If the pool that is constructed is inadequate to bring in swim meets and to meet the needs of the community, the community will have to live with it. If it is of adequate size, the community will be able to live with it and it will really be great for the community.

You can do your part by investing in this project in any denomination. Remember, your pledge will be welcome and can be paid in payments over three years.

For additional information or to obtained pledge cards, contact Greg Hoffman (417) 667- 4721, Monty Smith (417) 667-5380 or the YMCA (417) 667-YMCA (9622) or on the Web at osageparirie.org.

Leonard Ernsbarger
Leonard At Large