Save the Pool campaign remains intact

Published 5:19 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The committee behind the Save the Pool campaign won’t be disbanded, but it will continue to work to enhance and promote the Hildred T. Moore Aquatic & Fitness Center.

During is meeting Monday, the Washington City Council extended the life of the committee.

Earlier this month, Kristi Roberson, director of parks and recreation for Washington, received praise from the City Council for her work to save the city money in repairing the pool’s dehumidifier and with the Save the Pool campaign.

As for efforts to save the city money, Roberson’s attention to the dehumidifier project resulted in the initial $300,000 estimate to replace the aging unit drop to about half that estimate, then fall to $91,942 to rebuild the dehumidifier. In September, the council approved a $153,007 purchase order for Thermal Resources Sales to replace the dehumidifier, which has experienced problems in recent years.

That initial estimate, combined with the pool operating at a deficit, had the council considering closing the pool about two years ago. That possibility resulted in the Save the Pool campaign, an effort between the city and pool supporters.

At Monday’s meeting, Councilman Doug Mercer proposed disbanding the committee, saying it had done its job in raising money to help repair a dehumidifier at the pool and awareness of the pool’s role in the community. “That committee did an outstanding job. They came in and worked diligently with Kristi and they’ve met regularly. With the awarding of the purchase order to repair the dehumidifier last month, I would think that the need for the need for the pool committee is no longer there, and that we officially disband that committee, and have the mayor send each member of the committee a letter thanking them for their service,” Mercer said.

Other council members had differing views on the fate of the committee.

Mayor Mac Hodges said the committee proved itself as a fundraising entity, suggesting the committee be kept operational, if Roberson believes it could remain useful.

“Mr. Mayor, I think the committee worked diligently to help get some financing for the city for the pool. To me, after you had someone to work and get something you couldn’t get yourself, I think you shouldn’t dissolved it, in my opinion,” said Councilman Richard Brooks. The councilman said the board should continue to meet and deal with pool-related issues that could surface and need addressing. “Sometimes you need help doing something, but at that moment you don’t see it. This committee has worked good to help us, and I don’t think we should break it up.”

Council member William Pitt said the committee did good work, but he wants to see work on setting up a pool stability fund. “If it (dehumidifier) broke once, it’s going to break again, and we need to be prepared for that eventuality,” he said. “Disbanding the pool committee, or … any ideas of creating a pool stability fund with restrictive funds, would be something we need to look at going into the next budget year.”

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike