Shooting the Bull: Podcast for August 24, 2008
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Walltown, Trinity Ave. both still on track as indoor pool facilities

The great saga of the proposed indoor pool facilities for Walltown and Trinity Ave. got more play at last Thursday's City Council work session, as well-told by Ray Gronberg in a Saturday article in the Herald-Sun.

Last month, Mayor Bill Bell sounded like he was leaning towards a compromise outdoor pool for Walltown, with the Trinity Ave. facility -- an aging ex-YMCA that the City is set to buy back from Duke University -- seeing its indoor pool used for warm-water swim lessons especially for seniors and residents with disabilities.

While the two projects are still intended to complement each other, as Bell called for in July's discussion, look for Walltown's to be an indoor pool facility as well, albeit one with water slides and other recreational amenities.

According to Gronberg's retelling of the meeting events, it appears that at least part of the 2003 parks master plan -- which called for "four pool-equipped community centers on the southwestern, northwestern, northeastern and southeastern corners of the city" -- is now paper on the shelf, with one Parks & Rec administrator noting there were currently no plans or projections for additional public pools in Durham.

(Which is a bit odd, since the 2009-2014 Capital Improvements Program just passed a couple of months ago as part of the FY09 city budget specifically states relative to the southern Durham rec center that "This project will design and construct a full-service recreation center (pool and gym) to serve the rapidly growing neighborhoods of southern Durham.  The first phase will be acquisition of property to site the center." Ray, Parks & Rec folks -- any ideas?)

Comments

Philip

It's disappointing to see such a concentration of pools in one area, especially when caused by a deviation from existing plans.

Before proceeding with new pools, I would hope that the city (a) ensures budget and processes to maintain any new facilities and (b) reviews the maintenance of the existing water facilities at the Downtown Y. (I believe the Downtown Y is partially city funded and the pool, SPA and related areas have not traditionally been well maintained.)

Kudos on the recent City Manager Interview! Philip

Mike Woodard

@ Kevin: The City will not "buy back " the Trinity Avenue property from Duke. During its time as a Y facility, the Y owned and maintained the property w/o City support.
@ Philip: The City has contracts with the Y for various services from time to time, but the downtown Y is not a City facility or maintained by the City.

Philip

Thanks Mike. I stand corrected on the funding of the Y. Still concerned about the concentration of the proposed pools and the apparent deviation from prior plans regarding their location.

GreenLantern

Couldn't these pool facilities be funded by the proposed Prepared Meals Tax?

Given the number of pools in such close proximity to East Durham residents, would it not be an opportune time to solicit support for the proposed tax from the "Community" to support such cultural amenities? I'm speaking of the DCABP, of course....

tina

I really hope the city isn't planning on reneging on it's promises of a South Durham Community Center. South Durham residents don't have the luxury of forgetting to pay our city property tax bill. So if the city isn't going to keep it's promises, it could at least build a high speed light rail from South Durham directly to the core of Durham so we can access the services that we are paying for. (Kevin, sorry for the snark... it's been a bad day!)

Todd Patton

The northwestern community center with pool was to be at Valley Springs Park off of Rose of Sharon Rd and used to be in the CIP, but mysteriously disappeared a few budget cycles ago. That park would be a great site - there is a lot of space available there, and this part of town has few public facilities.

As it is, the closest indoor pool to my home is Edison Johnson, more than 6 miles away. It is ridiculous to cluster indoor pools so closely together in one part of town, leaving all the rest of Durham unserved (or served at commuting distance).

Why is it so hard to spread the wealth and serve everyone? Both northern and southern Durham are being completely left out, and apparently no one on the City Council sees any problem with that.

mike

Well I have to tell you this happens to everyone in Durham not just North and South. Northgate Park has been waitng for new playground equipment for about ten years now with money from a bond in '96 I believe. Frankly, I think our local government is worthless at this point, as everyone has their own agenda and is forgetting who gave them their job. I'm certainly keeping notes and this will reflect the way I vote next time. Hope everyone else is doing the same becauae I think we are all feed up with it.

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