I am writing with concern about the possible closure of the pool at Barton. While I understand the financial burden the pool is putting on the college, I also feel there are other options available that have not been explored.
First, my concern is a personal one. My children have been involved in the Golden Belt Swim Club for the past nine years. This program has been a source of community pride for over 150 kids per year in Barton County for over 30 years. We have won the Western Championship most of the nine years. The reason our team is so successful is because of the wonderful volunteers and coaches and second, because of the facilities we use. Many other teams do not have an indoor pool to use for practices. This winter we had over 50 kids participate in the winter swim meets across the state. My kids have met kids from all over the state because of this wonderful program. I have watched kids who could hardly swim the first day of practice grow into champions in high school. It is also a great way to keep in shape in the off season for other sports.
Our high school teams have been very successful as well. When I attend other sporting activities someone always mentions that they have heard about our high school swim team. Without the kids club, the high school teams would not be as competitive. Perhaps the college should look into a swim team at the college level? You can see some of the swimming greats at the pool hanging on the wall.
I am asking that the trustees consider other options prior to making a decision about closing the pool. I think if you talked to Barton County residents you would find that there are other options available to help with renovations. The school district is willing to help, the club is willing to help, and I am sure there are grant funds available to help keep our community healthy.
I am also asking residents to contact the trustees and give ideas on how to keep the pool open. Our tax dollars pay to support the college, now we need to get involved and help support the college with ideas. Please come visit the pool and if you are not sure if you want to support the kids club and the high school teams, come out to the college at our home swim meet on May 31st. Our meets bring in kids and families from other towns and gives back to the community. You will also see that our kids club is larger than area towns that are much larger than ours. Last summer we had over 150 kids involved in the program.
I know the state budget cuts are hard on everyone, but I also believe the community wants to keep this pool open. Our little town needs to keep positive activities for our kids, not get rid of them.
Please take the time to contact the college and give them options to keep the pool open. I believe closing this pool will hurt our community.