In his Friday newspaper column advocating an aquatics center, Matt Nash concedes to certain nostalgic feelings.
I am nostalgic for a bygone era when I use to spend hot summer afternoons cooling myself at the local municipal swimming pool. I lived within walking distance of our local swimming pool “Oasis” which was later remodeled and named for New Albany’s Olympic swimming hero Camille Wright, who was also a neighbor of mine. I believe that a future Olympic swimmer could possibly live in New Albany if only they had a facility where their love of swimming could be cultivated.
Even before Matt's column was published, there was a pragmatic answer to the lure of nostalgia, as articulated by Randy Smith (whose letter to the editor on this topic finally appeared in the newspaper, some ten days after NAC published it here).
Adults of our generation (and I believe I am now older than all but 2 council members) recall with gladness many sunny days gathered with our friends around a public pool. The public pool provided socialization, relief from the heat, a place to try out personalities, and a place to plant a marker along the sexual spectrum. Oh, and it provided some jobs to the children of the well-connected.I appreciate that Matt has young children who might vacate the house for exercise if a pool was nearby. But all of us don't swim, and as Bluegill among others has observed, with a neglected street grid unsafe to walk and bike, kids still would be driven in cars to get to the pool, somewhat defeating the purpose of encouraging an active life.
I’m sure there’s an element of “if only” in the calculations of pool supporters. If only we had a public pool, our drug problems would be more manageable. The sheer escape from stress would promote happiness and decrease crime. If only we had a pool, people would again take pride in our city.
Given the world as it is today, will parents let their children go to a pool unescorted? Would the pool even permit it?
Sorry, but although we generally agree, I must disagree with Matt on this one. It just isn't a strong argument to insist that a silent majority will utilize such a facility, if only we build it.
Perhaps a petition or survey would help?
Or a YMCA-like membership drive and donation campaign before ground is broken?
Just something to indicate a demand which thus far isn't registering.