“What are you going to do about the Orchard Mesa Pool?”
That is probably the number one question I get asked when people find out I am running for Grand Junction City Council. I have fond memories of taking my children to the pool for swimming lessons and birthday party gatherings as they were growing up. It is an asset not just for the families on Orchard Mesa but for families throughout Grand Junction and I believe it should have a future beyond “a defined period of time.”
The first question that needs to be answered is how much will it cost to upgrade the pool, not just fix what is broken? A back of the napkin calculation by a couple of our local contractors could have at least given us a ballpark figure of how much money it would take to give the pool a future, not just address deferred maintenance issues. That said the Council on a split vote recently voted to spend $162,000 with consultants to develop three scenarios for costs to maintain and upgrade the pool.
As part of that process discussions should ensue among the city, County and School District of how to move forward in public meetings. The three-way partnership that has existed in the past to govern the pool has always been a problem. The city knows how to operate swimming pools and should take ownership of the facility. The School District and County should find ways to assist financially in exchange for no longer being responsible for it.
Where there is a will, there is a way. This community can support both the Orchard Mesa Pool and a new aquatic center. It should never have become an either/or proposition which is where we sit today with the current decision to keep Orchard Mesa pool open only until nine months after a new recreation center is built.
As a City Council Member, I will work hard to determine the will of city residents and then find a way to give them what they want.