Opp resident: Don’t mess with Myrtle

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The lengthy debate that came to a head last summer over only one city pool in Opp came to light again at Monday night’s city council meeting.

Resident Myrtle Floyd addressed the council with her distaste for the closing of Opp Memorial Pool and Park, which is located behind the First Methodist Church.

“The (pool and park) were dedicated in 1948 with a building and swimming pool,” Floyd said.

Floyd said the public pool and park was a memorial for those who had fought for freedom in the world wars.

“It was to serve as the grandfather of all,” she said.

Floyd told the council that the pool, because of its historical value, be excluded from making it up to par with the American Disabilities Act.

“I had met with (former Opp) Mayor (Jerry) Boothe, and it was not one of the top priorities,” she said. “And I have seen no ambition from the current administration.”

Floyd accused the current administration of careless spending.

“Shame on the city of Opp,” she said. “It’s a slap in the face to those who it was built to honor.”

Floyd said the only councilmember who cared about the pool was current council member and mayoral candidate Jimmy Rogers.

“And he gets reprimanded about it,” she said.

Last year, several residents voiced concern because the Hardin Street pool, located in District 4, the primarily black district, was the only pool open for children to swim.

Rogers told the council at the June 20, 2011 meeting that he “was asked to see if we could do something about the city pool.”

At one time, there were three functioning pools in Opp operated by the city, one on Hardin Street, Memorial Pool and one owned by Opp and Micolas Mills.

Mechanical issues forced the closure of the Memorial Pool years ago, and city officials cited it was too costly to repair.

Mayor H.D. Edgar said in 2011, that 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.

During the 2011 debate, council members said the city has researched several avenues to bring a second pool, but did not purse the project due to cost.

Rogers was tasked with finding a price for building a new pool. Cox Pools met with Rogers and gave an estimate of $230,000 to build a new pool inside the existing pool at Memorial Park. The price included the pump and filtering system, but would cost an additional $20,000 to pour concrete on the outside of the pool, Rogers said.

Floyd said Memorial Pool was a place full of memories and offered children an opportunity to learn to swim, which she said allowed them to be qualified for jobs that required swimming.

Floyd said the city should fix the pool just as it did Channel-Lee Stadium.

“I am going to ask all my buddies to help,” she said. “It should have never gotten into this shape. I don’t want to hear any environmental excuses either. I’m going to be after you. Don’t mess with Myrtle.”

Edgar said Tuesday that Floyd did not meet with him prior to the meeting to voice her complaints.

“Little did she know, we have been making improvements to Memorial Park and plan to continue to do so,” he said.

The city is currently installing new-handicapped accessible bathrooms at the park. It will cost the city approximately $20,000.

The project is being paid for out of profits made from the Rattlesnake Rodeo and MFG Alabama donations.