The Standard-Examiner urges a "yes" vote on a referendum to raise a local levy on property to repair and maintain pools at Ogden High School and Ben Lomond High School. If the referendum is not approved, the Ogden School District plans to close both pools.
These public swimming pools are valuable community assets. Losing them would have a big impact on the community. You can't replace a swimming pool with a more inexpensive, tech alternative.
A swimming pool can't be downloaded or otherwise accessed on a website. Twenty years from now, swimming pools will not have changed and their benefits to swimmers, divers, and others will remain as important as they are today. And, if these public, competitive-sized swimming pools are abandoned by the district, they are gone. Weber County does not have an aquatic center big enough to meet the needs of those who use the pools. The two pools remain the premiere locations in Weber County for swimming.
The Ogden pools serve several swimming teams, many of which are comprised of high school athletes. There are competitive swimming clubs, community swimming lessons, fitness classes for seniors and others, water safety classes, both for professionals and others. The pools offer enough programs to merit their cost. They have been in this community for two generations. Many, many Top of Utahns have used these pools. The pools have earned status as community fixtures.
It will cost $1.5 million to repair both pools, and yearly maintenance costs are about $260,000. The revenue the pools generate has not covered those costs. To fund the pools, it would require about $2 a month in extra property taxes, based on a home valued at $120,000. The pools merit the extra costs.
Another reason to keep the two Ogden School District pools is they help improve children's physical fitness. Frankly, too many kids need more exercise. Let's get more kids and adults in the pools, rather than ditching them. That's simply unwise. Once the pools are fully funded and operating, we challenge the school district and the community to take full advantage of their health benefits.