Citizens For A Better Norwood

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rec. Commissioners: $$$ wasn’t why pool was closed

Last night’s Recreation meeting opened with Commissioners Henges, Faulkner, and Kemper and Recreation Director Jenny Wallace introducing themselves to an audience of about 50+ adults and children. They gave short bio's about their longevity as residents and their longstanding ties to Recreation and other Norwood institutions. Among the attendees were City Council members Steve Thornbury, Victor Schneider, and Mike Gabbard, and City Auditor Jim Stith.

Next, approximately 15 residents addressed the Commissioners. Most were also longtime residents with strong generational ties to Norwood’s parks, especially to Burwood. Several mothers, now grandmothers, spoke about how important Burwood pool had been and remains in the lives of their children and now their grandchildren. Several stated they weren’t able to afford the higher cost of Waterworks pool and that Burwood was far more suitable for young children. Concern was expressed about the poor maintenance and inadequate trash pick up both at Burwood and other parks.

At least 3 residents challenged the low attendance data that led to the Commissioners’ decision to close the pool, citing sign up forms that weren’t always available, resulting in inaccurate record keeping. They expressed certainty that 2007 attendance was, in fact, up over the previous year, with an average of about 45 daily swimmers.

In answer to one resident’s question, “What does it take to keep Burwood pool open and address the other issues with our parks?”, Councilpersons Schneider and Thornbury later supplied the answers: keep doing what you’re doing and take your message to the next City Council meeting on April 28th. Heads began nodding in agreement, indicating a consensus that council will be their next stop.

When Commissioner Henges announced after a brief recess that Burwood pool would be open this summer after all, he stated that a lack of money was not the reason the Commissioners had voted earlier to close it. He said there is concern that fewer and smaller families in Norwood are sufficient to justify keeping the pool open long term. Attendance and other issues will be evaluated as they decide the pool’s fate after this summer season.

Among the many memorable remarks of the evening were some supplied by Mr. Stith, who quoted one of his grandmother’s favorite axioms - “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” As a 7-year resident of Norwood, Mr. Stith believes maintaining our parks and the recreational activities they provide for our youth is key to attracting and keeping families like his and others as homeowners. He went on to say, “Our parks give us a small town, community feel; and if we chip away at that feeling, we’re going to lose.”

8/21/08 UPDATE: Yesterday’s Enquirer had this blurb about last Wednesday’s Recreation meeting. It reports the final total of petition signatures at 820. Of these, 65 were on the children’s petition.