Outdoor pool issue should go to referendum

To the editor:

On behalf of citizens who may be reluctant to express their opinions on the issue of the outdoor pool, I am writing to share another opinion. I encourage others to express their thoughts as well.

I grew up in Clintonville before there was an outdoor or indoor pool. A bus took us to Sandy Beach for swimming lessons taught by two local teachers. No staff and no other expenses. Recreational swimmers could ride the bus as well. I personally feel the weather this far north makes an outdoor pool impractical. Our much larger neighboring cities New London and Shawano have long ago abandoned the outdoor pool concept. People say the rec center is too expensive for families. It would cost less to subsidize swimming for families than operating an outdoor pool for just a few months.

Proponents say an outdoor pool would attract young families to the city. As a former council member, I organized an housing committee. Several local Realtors served on that committee. A problem was identified as lack of housing. Suggestions were made to make lots available in the city at bargain prices, build condominiums to keep seniors in the city as tax payers. I have encouraged the school board to provide incentives to teachers to live in the city. Could local businesses offer incentives for employees to live in the city and become taxpayers? Desirable housing opportunities could attract residents. Adding the cost of a refurbished pool and annual expenses of operating it to the burden of taxpayers will not attract residents.

To be fair to all, I suggest a referendum on the cost of a new pool or refurbishing along with the annual operating expense. That will give all citizens a voice in the decision. I appreciate the work of the ad-hoc committee, but now let taxpayers vote.

Mary-Beth Kuester,

Clintonville