E-City Beat received the following hand written letter yesterday which has been edited for clarity.
Kids high and dry
“The Care of Human Life and Happiness, and not their destruction is the only legitimate object of good government.” — Thomas Jefferson.
Our Great Falls neighborhood swimming pools, Jaycee and Water Tower, were closed for the season on Sunday, August 3 by the City after being open for only five weeks this summer. The new Great Falls Park and Recreation director, Steve Herrig who came here from Kansas a year ago, said his reason for closing the pools was – “a lifeguard shortage”. Really?
Our public pools were built over 50 years ago by the taxpayers of our community for people of all ages and have usually been open for 12 weeks in the Summer. This year pools were open for a little more than a month.
The City of Great Falls and the Park and Recreation Director have a commitment to maintain and should keep our pools open all summer. Running out of lifeguards is not an excuse for failing to uphold this commitment.
Here’s what needs to be done: first, start the recruiting process by or at Christmas break, not one month before summer. Then, pay more that $10 an hour. Finally, the City needs to pay for lifeguard candidate’s certification, as it has in the past. The opportunity to serve as lifeguards should be open to all qualified people, not just college students.
Since the voters recently approved a 1.5 million dollar bond for our parks, the same old excuse that the funds aren’t there to keep our pools open and pay lifeguards enough to get more candidates, just doesn’t play well.
Strangely, the Water Tower pool was available for two private pool parties after the closure to the public. Are you kidding me? The City can open the pool and staff it for private parties, but not for the children in our community?
To top it off, the new Park and Rec director took a summer vacation and left the children of Great Falls high and dry.
If you are as upset as I am you should call Steve Herrig and voice your opinion at 406-791-8980.
Let’s get our swimming pools open for all of us!
C.A.B. – Former Great Falls City pools lifeguard, Resident and Taxpayer for 50 years.