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Still no solution for plans for new city pool

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Athens City Council spent most of their meeting Tuesday considering plans for a new pool in attempt to move forward with the planning process.

Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, opened discussions on an ordinance that would authorize engineering services for an outdoor pool by urging his fellow members to help find a way to continue plans.

“This may be controversial to some, but we do have an aging pool,” Butler said. “Hopefully, we can find a way to move forward.”  

Several members took issue with the actual wording of the ordinance that clearly states “outdoor pool” in the description of the final plan for the project. Since discussion began for the pool in summer 2015, it has not been determined if the pool will be indoor or outdoor.

“It does say outdoor pool; I know we’ve had discussion for either way so I have concerns on that,” Councilwoman Michele Papai, D-3rd Ward, said. “We’re asking to borrow $500,000. I think there are still a lot of questions from the community.”

Councilwoman Jennifer Cochran, D-At Large, also took the time to voice her concern with the wording of the ordinance. She cited the previous language used in a recent levy that used the word “pool.”

“The public was lead to believe that all options were on the table,” Cochren said. Law Director Lisa Eliason then confirmed the wording from the recent levy.

City Auditor Kathy Hecht took time addressing this with the council and urged them to finally move forward with the long process.

“I am not opposed to an indoor pool, but something needs to be done one way or another,” Hecht said. “I think it is all still possible with the number we have. I would like for the process to move forward. Our original intent was to replace the outdoor pool; we all know that.”

The city has already begun collecting the $500,000 needed for the project from taxes. Discussion for the pool will continue until the council is able to come to a decision on how to spend the money for the facility. The ordinance will move on for a second reading at the council’s next meeting in two weeks.

During the meeting, communications from City Council President Christine Knisley announced plans for council members to have lunch with Ohio University President Roderick McDavis.

“I hope we can find a date that works for everyone,” Knisley said. “Good discussions have come from these luncheons with the president.”

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