Home Politics City Council treads (water) lightly in regards to new pool

City Council treads (water) lightly in regards to new pool

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City Council committees met Monday night to once again talk about the city’s future pool and to debate the merits of a ruling that would allow golf carts and other vehicles to be driven on city streets.

The contract the city has signed with MSA Sports says the company will be proceeding with construction an outdoor pool, which some citizens were not happy to learn this summer.

Council member Pat McGee, I-At Large, asked who made the final decision to build an outdoor pool rather than a natatorium. Mayor Patterson responded by saying the levy that would pay for the pool also includes interest rates and other factors, and that although the administration had been trying to find ways to build both an outdoor and indoor natatorium, spreading funds that thin would not be effective.

“You’re going to end up at the end of the day with a subpar swimming facility if we try to do that,” Patterson said. “You’re going to get a little kiddy pool and an indoor facility that is really not much to write home about. So the outdoor pool is where we’re landing at this point in time.”

Athens citizen Todd Swearingen expressed his frustration over the administration’s decision-making process regarding the pool, in part because he felt that Patterson hadn’t answered McGee’s question.

“The mayor took it upon himself, for whatever reasons — and they may be valid — but he should have gone through the process and at least let it go a couple weeks further . . . and get the contractor’s considered opinion as to what are options were, rather than shutting the door on the option,” Swearingen said.

The council also discussed a legislative ruling that would allow vehicles such as golf carts and ATVs to be driven on city streets. According to Transportation Committee Chair Michele Papai, Athens as a municipality would have to opt out of this decision that would otherwise put the change into effect starting Jan. 1, 2017.

“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” Council member Jeffrey Risner, D-2nd Ward, said.

Some members agreed with Risner, while McGee advocated for implementing the change, citing the fact that many other cities across the country use golf carts and other small vehicles to shuttle people to and from events.

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