October 15, 2007
Under a new plan put together by the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department, Crow Pool, located just off Rose Hill Drive, would be closed. But a new, somewhat consolidated facility would be built near Buford Middle School. It would be a state-of-the-art facility designed to last for decades.
But some swimmers say it's an unnecessary change, and that closing any city pool is a mistake.
"Everyone is in agreement to having better facilities, but no one wants less facilities," said Linda Respess, who swims several times a week and has lived in Charlottesville for some 40 years.
But some city officials think the new plan could be the right solution.
"What we're trying to do is improve upon the services that we provide," explained Mike Svetz, the director of the city's Parks & Recreation Department. "we want to serve more residents in the City of Charlottesville."
The new center would have 19,000 square feet of space, with more room for exercise and fitness classrooms. And it could hold as many as 250 people. But some call the plan extreme.
"(Parks & Recreation's) vision, so to speak, is to have some fancy, state-of-the-art facility," said Adrienne Carlee, who is also a regular swimmer. "What we pool users are saying is that's not necessary. We don't need that. We don't event want that. We are quite happy with Crow and Smith." Carlee also co-organized a petition calling to keep Crow Pool open. When she turned it into city council earlier this month the petition had more than 300 signatures on it.
"These pools are here and they should be refurbished," suggested Betsy Enos, who swims about five times per week.
But according to the city renovations would be expensive, costing as much as $6 million.
There's also the hope that a new YMCA could be built in town, possibly providing even more facilities. But for swimmers, more isn't necessarily better.
"I don't think the city needs to put more money into the "Y" when they have two facilities already that they could enhance," said Respess.
But Svetz disagrees. "Repair simply repairs and puts Band-Aids on existing problems, he said."
Charlottesville City Council will have the new plan presented to them Monday night at City Hall.