To Cecil Adkins, the municipal pool in the Village of Walbridge should be regarded as a public asset worthy of the village’s investment of time and financial resources.
Adkins, a former village councilman, along with current councilmembers Maureen Jacobsen, who chairs council’s parks and recreation committee, and Ed Kolanko, and Steve Smith, village administrator, met with employees of GEM Industrial Inc. Thursday morning at the pool on Parkview Drive to get an idea on what repairs are needed.
Adkins and a few other residents voiced their concerns about proposed spending cuts in the village’s 2010 budget during a council meeting last month.
The pool, he reasons, should be spared from the budgetary ax.
“To say we don’t have the money isn’t completely accurate,” he said last week, adding the village’s savings account is likely drawing a very low interest rate and could be tapped for the repairs.
If promoted properly, the pool would draw families and residents from throughout Lake Township, he said, recalling the days when he was among the residents who formed a non-profit corporation and secured a loan from the Rossford Savings Bank to construct it.
Then it was called the Aqua Terrace Swim Club and member families who owned a share of stock would pay for a season pass.
“Many families were stockholder members,” Adkins said. “We had families from Moline and even Toledo. It was basically a community enterprise. “
The village purchased the pool and five-acre grounds in 1994 for $13,000. After completing about $6,200 worth of refurbishments, including sandblasting, painting, and repairing cracks, the village opened the pool in June of that year.
The village also spent about $9,000 for salaries and benefits for lifeguards and a pool manager.
Mary Jane Finch, then the village clerk-treasurer, told The Press at the time the purchase wasn’t viewed by village officials as a profit-making venture. Rather, “Council and the administration bought it to benefit the community in the same way the village supports the parks and ball diamonds for the betterment of the community.”
In the years prior to the sale, the corporation had incurred debts and the pool had fallen into disrepair.
Nonetheless, Adkins remains confident the pool can be self-supporting.
“The pool should pay for itself if it is managed right,” he said. “The community could hold fundraisers if residents feel they have a stake in the pool. We have to let people know it’s not for Walbridge residents only.”
Heating the pool water at the start of the season would draw more users, he said.
For 2009, the village charged non-resident families $250 for a season pass, according to a form on the village Web site. Resident families were charged $125. Resident singles were charged $65 and non-resident singles paid $150.
Daily rates were $2 for residents and $5 for non-residents.
Discounts were offered for seniors.
Minutes from village council’s Dec. 16 meeting state that Mayor Dan Wilczynski said the cuts were needed to balance the 2010 budget but that some could be restored if revenues increase.
In addition to the proposed pool closing, the cuts included dropping all overtime pay for the street and police departments, removing the health insurance deductible fund, and not hiring seasonal workers for the parks.
A summer camp program was also cut as were employee bonuses and raises. The mayor also decided to not accept a salary.
“These changes have taken us to where we need to be with a little bit of planned surplus and as the year progresses, if revenues increase, then we can choose to put any of the eliminated items back in place by appropriating money back into the 2010 budget,” the minutes say.