By Noah Dawson
During the city council meeting this week, the closing of the Thompson Park Pool was a major topic of discussion. The head of the parks department discussed the statistics of the number of individuals who had used the pool over the past year, and what current summer programs are in place that could offer temporary alternatives for the community. It was also brought up that communicating these programs with the public during future public engagement meetings will be a priority. I want to be clear: This is a great step. As I mentioned in a previous column, the role the pool played in the community is one which is much more than just a pool. Of course, none of these programs are true permanent replacements, but having something in place is vital. Still, this displays a major failure of the way our city has been run, which seems to boil down to an apparent lack of communication and a failure of planning.
The condition of the pool has been known for decades, at least to the some of the employees of the parks department. Whether or not the condition of the pool necessitates the pool being closed needs to be discussed, but even in the case that things are as bad as the city says, it seems that the city, on some level, knew about the problems well before the closing was announced. It is not clear how long before the decision was made that the council knew about the topic, but whether the time frame was long or short is cause for concern.
If the time frame was short, communication needs to be improved. The concerns of parks department employees need to be heard, and that information needs to be relayed to our city officials, so that planning can be done.
If the time frame was longer, the city should have acted sooner on creating contingency plans. The fact that it was not until now that a breakdown of alternative programs was offered is concerning. In fact, even if the council did not know about the issue, the parks department should have had such a breakdown ready to go. It should have been ready for the council meeting last month, and it should have been ready for the meeting hosted by the North Heights Association last month.
Because of the apparent lack of communication and failure of planning, the north side of the city has been profoundly negatively impacted. These issues run deep, too. This is only the latest example where these problems have impacted the lives of the people of this city. Our city needs change, and it needs real change. This May, We the People must vote.