Pool design should appeal to many

The Baltimore Sun

In response to a Dec. 30 letter (No public funds for 50-meter pool), I would like to point out that the county is awaiting a study (to be released mid-2008) to determine if it is feasible to build such a facility, and if so, is considering funding such a project through bonds issued by the Revenue Authority - not through the traditional funding method of the county's capital budget.

Like parking garages, aquatic complexes are revenue generators. As long as a swim facility is able to cover its debt service through user fees, partial- and full-facility rentals, and concessions, it would not drain the tax base since it would not draw from capital budget funds. Users would pay for it. The key is to design it so it would appeal to a variety of users.

There are dozens of public, indoor pool complexes in our region (many of which have 50-meter pools), and they all serve a variety of users - not just competitive swimmers as the letter suggested such a pool in Howard would narrowly serve.

It would be infeasible to build an aquatic complex for only competitive and high school swimmers. By necessity, such a facility would serve a wide range of users and programs: from recreational swimmers, lap swimmers, lesson-takers, therapeutic swimmers, geriatric swimmers and water aerobics participants to competitive and high school swimmers, masters swimmers, water polo, synchronized swimming, triathletes, open-water swimming, and scuba diving. Certain programs, such as high school swimming, would contribute to its efficiency by using the facility during nonpeak hours.

Given the current heavy demand by various groups on the CA, YMCA and HCC indoor pools in Howard, it is obvious that with the growth projected from BRAC the county needs to find a way to efficiently serve the increasing demand of aquatics users - and what better, more efficient way to meet that demand than with a 50-meter pool.

Diane Goodridge

Ellicott City

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