It's our pool, we should maintain it for our children
It is so true: elections have consequences.
I have spent much of the last few years as treasurer of Friends of Sandy Pool. We worked diligently to try to keep the Olin Bignall Aquatic Center open. When the school no longer wanted to take care of the expenses of keeping the pool open, a number of seats on the school board were lost, in part, because of that decision.
Working with Mayor Bill King for several years, the Friends of Sandy Pool backed an effort to apply for grants to keep the pool open and eventually a long-term plan to buy land from the school and build a community center around the pool was implemented, or so we thought.
We all knew it was not going to be easy or quick to get everything done, but at least the pool would stay open while we worked on it. Just last year, the pool closed for several months while renovations were done at the cost of thousands of dollars and the pool was reopened with much fanfare.
Then we had an election. Huge signs were paid for all over the city to get a new mayor elected. Once again, money won out and the mayor who had worked with us was replaced. This happened last November. Less than six months later the citizens of Sandy found out that we were going to lose our pool. And soon.
After spending all that money on the pool, it reopened last summer and it will now be closed May 31 this year. Decisions were made to do this without notification to the citizens until everything was finalized. Needless to say, the "citizens" were not happy.
We all understand that pools can be a money pit. Pools are closing all over the country.
This pool was put up more than 50 years ago by a man who wanted the children of this city to have a safe place to learn to swim. During the years, this pool has provided a place for the local swim teams to practice and have meets. Thousands of children through the years have learned to swim at this pool. It is impossible to know how many children might have drowned during that time period had the pool not been here.
We have children who have attended college on swim scholarships because of the availability of this pool. We have swim teams that have earned state swimming championships because of this pool.
Friends of Sandy Pool encouraged people to say yes to a fee rise in their water bill in order to help in financing the pool costs. Our taxes go up automatically every year in order to keep pace of costs of city and county services due to inflation. The city of Sandy is growing by leaps and bounds and those new houses bring in lots of tax dollars, yet the pool just is not that important to the city.
In the April 3 Sandy Post editorial, the community was reprimanded: "This community quickly needs to get over the disappointment of the pool closure." Possibly the most factual statement in the Post article was from former Mayor Bill King, who stated, "If and when the pool closes. I don't believe it will ever open again."
Let's face it, if we can't afford to keep an operational pool operational … how the heck are we ever going to build a new pool from scratch and keep it operational.
The other most factual statement in the editorial was the statement of how unlikely it would be to pass a bond measure. No. People aren't going to vote for a bond measure. Every time we vote for a bond or agree to add charges to a bill for something, it always seems to end up going someplace else where "it is more badly needed."
And usually without any input from us. At least until the decision has already been made.
Gloria Bean is a retired nurse who has lived in Sandy since 2002. She was treasurer of Friends of Sandy Pool until it disbanded, the organization recently believing that it had accomplished its goal to save the pool.