Pool debate causes sparks

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Opp City Council had a heated debate over a second pool location for the city’s children. Currently, the Hardin Street pool is open for all children in Opp, but some locals feel there should be another pool open. | Courtesy photo

The debate over whether the City of Opp should have a second pool has grown larger.

Last week, Opp residents were upset that only the Hardin Street pool is open this summer.

The pool is located in the city’s minority district.

At Monday night’s meeting, Councilman Jimmy Rogers brought the issue of opening a second city pool before the council at the request of his constituents.

“I was asked to see if we can do something about the city pool,” he said.

At one time, there were three functioning pools in Opp operated by the city, one on Hardin Street, one behind the First Methodist Church and one owned by Opp and Micolas Mills.

Mechanical issues forced the closure of the one behind the church years ago, and officials said it’s too costly to repair. The same can be said for the mill pool.

Mayor H.D. Edgar previously said it would cost more than $100,000 to install a new pool, but said the city had long-range plans to bring more water activities to Opp, including a splash park.

However, funding isn’t available at the present time.

Rogers asked the council Monday what was wrong with the pool located behind the First Methodist Church.

“It is undermining and leaking,” Edgar said.

Rogers asked about possibly getting the pool fixed or possibly leasing a pool from the mills, which the city had done previously.

“The City does not have the money to fix the pool,” Edgar said. “The mills ended that lease. They told us we could buy it or get out. And we got out. The city does not have the money to purchase a 50-year-old pool. It would be too much maintenance.”

Rogers questioned why the city had spent $11 million in the last few years, but a city pool was not made a priority.

“The pool was never on that list,” Councilman Oren Stewart said.

A couple of years ago, the city researched different avenues to bring a second pool for their children, but did not pursue the project due to the cost.

“We searched every avenue then,” said Councilman Mickey Crew.

Rogers said the children of Opp have limited options for recreational outlets.

“There is nothing for the kids to do but play ball and tennis,” he said. “I’m not trying to make an issue.”

Edgar reminded everyone that the Hardin Street pool is the city’s pool, but suggested that Rogers look into the costs of repairing they pool and constructing a new one and report back to council.

“Then you’ll know what it’s like,” he said, he said speaking of the cost. “Let me warn you, sit down before the tell you.”

“I know we’ve looked at that pool,” Rogers said. “But it seems that every time someone brings something up here, and someone doesn’t agree with it, we have to stop talking about it.”

The mayor suggested that Rogers contact Cox Pools and Hughes Pools for estimates.

“I’m not for beating the same horse,” Edgar said.

“We all agreed (that we couldn’t afford it),” Crew said.