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Build it and they will swim

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission’s unanimous approval of a recommendation to replace Daniel Meyer Memorial Pool was never really in doubt, but how soon that will happen is an open question. Much will depend on the determination of pool supporters to raise the necessary funds.

An ad hoc committee has met for a year, surveyed city residents, held listening sessions and explored alternative locations. In the end, the recommendation was clear: rebuild the pool in its existing location, expanding its size and deepening one end. The expansion will allow competitive swimming events, including water polo and swim-block starts for high school swim teams.

A survey of 2,500 Ashland residents showed 60% of respondents use aquatic facilities. Respondents also echoed the results of the committee’s listening sessions: They want options for multiple uses occurring simultaneously, including recreational swimming, lap swimming, aquatic exercise and swim lessons, as well as competitive swimming.

The committee wants the new pool designed in such a way that a cover could be added in the future to permit winter use.

The committee looked at the possibility of a new location, but that would have added to the cost.

Parks Director Michael Black said his goal is to build the pool using existing resources. That’s wise, considering community concerns about taxes and the cost of city government. With the pool cost presently estimated at $2.5 million to $3 million, that should be achievable.

If any community can raise the money to continue to provide public swimming opportunities, this one can.