Letter to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's not too late for a six-lane pool at the YMCA

Dear editor:

I am not a member of the YMCA Board, nor have I ever been. My family has been a member and donor since the YMCA's inception. I do admire and respect Dr. Warren Lovinger and the volunteers who have donated a lot of time and money to bring this facility to our community. Dr. Lovinger has been tirelessly working on this vision since 1995 and the completion is near.

I admit that I am not as tuned in as I should be and was recently shocked to learn that while the YMCA had reached its goal of raising $1.5 million to install the much awaited swimming pool, other inflationary factors, (Katrina, the war, etc.) have driven the cost up about 66 percent.

The original estimates four years ago were for a six-lane, 25-yard pool with a zero depth leisure area to accommodate kids and those with handicaps. This state of the art facility could be used by the high school swim team, Nevada Neptunes, and the entire community, all year, not just for a few months in the summer. Each group would pay user fees to do so. This would bring many visitors to Nevada for meets. (These are huge and generate a lot of money for local businesses.) The high school has not been able to instruct swimming or have a men's swim team because they have nowhere to practice. The women's team practices at Cottey College.

The Nevada Neptunes, a volunteer, parent-run organization, has grown tremendously over the past few years with over 50 families involved. This growth has been the result of hard work by volunteer parents, great coaching, and the belief that there would someday be a year round swimming program. About 30 kids are carpooling to Webb City this winter, two times each week to improve their swimming skills for next summer; without a high school team, there is no place for these young swimmers to advance.

Here is the bottom line

Option A: With the $1.5 million raised, as well as pledges, the YMCA can build a three-lane, 20-yard pool with leisure area. They have the money in hand to do this now. I know many who have worked hard to get to this point and would like to see this project drawn to a close but are disappointed that it is not what they originally planned for.

This pool will not be usable for competitive swim practice or hosting any meets.

Option B: A three-lane, 25-yard pool with leisure area, will cost about $1.7 million, of which the funding is about $200,000 short. This would at least provide competitive practice for swimmers however would not be functional for hosting meets.

Option C: A six-lane, 25-yard pool with no leisure area will cost a little under $2.3 million of which there is a $765,000 shortfall. This pool could host meets, bring revenue to Nevada, and attract swim teams from nearby towns to rent the facility.

Option D: A six-lane, 25-yard pool with leisure area will cost about $2.5 million of which the YMCA is about $1 million short. This pool would provide all of the benefits of Option C, plus a zero depth leisure area for kids and handicap usage. This would also complete the vision Dr. Lovinger and others had 12+ years ago.

I was shocked to learn that only $280,000 of the money raised so far has come from 135 donors that are not YMCA board members. Nearly $164,000 came from 21 board members and staff. The rest came from the same sources that we go to every time a local project needs money: The Moss Trust, The Richardson Foundation, 3M Foundation, Murphy Farms, The First National Bank, The Maybee Foundation in Tulsa, and a few other large donors. Two local families have also pledged $50,000 each because they believe that this project is so important to our community.

The YMCA is prohibited from having any long-term debt, so borrowing the money is not an option.

Nevada has been my home for more than 26 years and the community has been very good to me and my family. I have been very frustrated with the lack of sense of community from time to time. Whether it is trash on the streets, or maintaining our properties, each one of us can make a difference. We are all in this together. I, too, am guilty of hanging back and expecting someone else to take care of it.

It is up to you and me. What do we want? Just enough to get by? Or something that will benefit the entire community and be a source of pride for years to come? If you don't speak up now, you waive the right to complain in the future. Once the pool is built, that's it. There are no future additions to a pool like this. So we have to get it right the first time. Remember, even if your kids or grandkids never use this facility, your nieces, nephews, and neighbors will.

I know some people have had issues with the YMCA in the past, but please remember that this is largely a volunteer organization, which is made up of people with very good intentions. I admit that Melissa and I have been frustrated by some issues. I urge you to look beyond those and focus on the bigger picture and the future of our community.

The money does not have to be paid all at once. Pledges can be paid over a three-year period and are tax deductible (consult your tax advisor). Just $1 each day is over $1,000 in three year's time. Obviously more is better.

The YMCA needs to hear from you NOW! They are ready to move forward with Option A in November so we only have until Oct. 1 to let them know what we want. Pledge cards and more information are available from the Y or they can be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce office.

Please help! Don't expect your neighbor to do it!

Greg Hoffman


Thanks for embracing Cottey's new students into the community

Dear editor:

I want to share the gratitude that all of us at Cottey College feel toward the people in Nevada who helped us get our academic year off to a wonderful beginning. We are pleased to have continued growth in enrollment this year, and we are especially pleased with the increase in the number of students enrolled from Nevada and the surrounding area. The mood on campus is positive and enthusiastic.

I appreciate all the efforts made by so many from the community to set such a positive tone. The Welcome Cottey signs in the windows of local businesses that greeted students and their families and the wonderful turnout for the community picnic at Marmaduke Park sent a strong message of welcome. Special thanks go to Robin McHugh for her leadership and the Nevada IMPACT Tourism Board for generous support that resulted in a welcoming, festive occasion. I also want to thank the area churches for their warm welcome to students. The denominational representation at the picnic gave students convenient contacts with pastors and church members that will help them make the transition to our community. Many of our parents and families expressed that the community picnic created a positive impression of Nevada for them.

During the days of orientation, area banks including US Bank, Bank of America, and Metz Bank had representatives on campus to facilitate families making arrangements for students' accounts. I want to acknowledge the assistance of the Nevada Police Department for helping to make pedestrian crossings safer for students and Cottey personnel during the opening days of the academic year. In addition, I want to thank Jeanne Baldwin of the Vernon County Health Department for the assistance that she gave our students.

I believe our students realize that they are welcome in this community. Thank you.

Sincerely, Judy Rogers, Ph.D.

president, Cottey College