LETTERS

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN
New pool’s admission policies all wet

I have been struggling with this for some time and feel I must say something. We have a fantastic new pool with all the bells and whistles-it is great! I have seen it, and if I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to swim in it.

Unfortunately, with the policies set forth, many kids won’t be able to swim as much as they’d like. I think doing away with season passes for the pool is a huge disservice to our community.

With admission prices as they are-and I will use the $2 per admission price for this letter (the cost of for 4-17 years, the majority of pool users ages)-a child wanting to swim about five days a week from May 31 until, say, Aug. 12 (74 days total), would swim 45 to 50 times, which would cost $90 to $100 for that child. So if a family had two children, the cost would be $180 to $200. A family with four would pay $360 to $400 for the summer.

At last year’s rate of $80 for a family pass, that’s a 500 percent increase in the cost to swim.

Who swims that much, you ask? You’d be surprised. I know from helping with the pool for several summers that many kids swim that much. Some are there seven days a week.

Who loses in this equation? The very kids who need it the most-the kids whose parents are working at minimum-wage jobs, living paycheck to paycheck. These kids don’t get to go on vacations or play in summer rec leagues. They swim. Parents can budget for a one-time expense (a season ticket), but may be hard pressed to come up with cash for swimming every day.

When I addressed this issue with city officials, it was mentioned there could be “passes” available to those who met criteria for financial need. Bad idea- now we have to prove who is poor and who is not.

As I have been thinking about this for the past several weeks, I have wondered: Am I being too critical? Is this how pools are being run these days?

I called around and found that Marion, Florence, Peabody, Hesston, Moundridge, Halstead, Lindsborg and Abilene all offer season passes. They range in price from $35 to $55 for a single pass, $70 to $95 for a family pass, and some even have household passes for a higher rate that includes anyone living in the household.

I realize the new pool comes with new financial obligations for the city. Isn’t that why we voted to accept the increase in sales tax? Aren’t we already paying for the pool?

I have to wonder if the idea put to a vote was presented not as “Do you want a new pool?” but as “Do you want a new pool, but you can have no say as to where it is built, who runs it, how it is run, oh, and by the way we will no longer have season passes?” if it would have passed with so little discussion.

The swimming pool will not be a money-maker for the city. It probably will never operate at a profit during any summer. I would be surprised to find any town of comparable size where that happens. This is a service provided by the city for the people of our town-young and old alike.

Kids don’t care if they have giant pretzels with cheese or personal pan pizzas to eat. They want to swim and play with their friends and a place to cool off and have fun on a hot summer day.

Hillsboro has a city council elected by the people to act as representatives for the people. If you don’t like the idea of how the pool is being run, then you must let them know.

If you do not know who your city council representative is, then call the city office at 947-3162, tell them where you live and ask who your city council member is. Then let them know how you feel.

It is not too late to have the pool admission policy changed. We are paying increased sales tax to help fund this pool, our kids should be able to use it as much as they want.

Kathy McMillen

Hillsboro

About the way to install toilet paper…

On two occasions in the recent past, one of your (excellent) columnists slightly misled an unsuspecting public on two matters when he referred to (1) the proper procedure to handle toilet-tissue installation on the dispensing roll, indicating the chore is (2) a male function and must be installed with the paper proceeding over the top of the roll.

While not specifically being a male household function, it is a task male householders have the mentality to perform. But the procedure is not a male mandate. Women may also handle this oft-repeated necessity.

As to the issue whether the tissue should be distributed over the top of the roll or be detached from the perforated length of the paper, it should be remembered that paper falling directly off the roll down the wall eliminates friction on the roller, which in due time will decrease wear and tear on the dispenser,

I trust this criticism will be taken well.

Frank A. Williams

Hillsboro

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