Making the Clearwater Beach Pool Sustainable
By Anne McKay Garris
So far, a Clearwater City budget reduction recommendation that the Clearwater Beach Pool be closed and demolished is in abeyance. According to City Officials, the popular pool slide is going to be replaced. The original slide, installed ten years ago when the pool was first opened, had deteriorated to the point of not being safe and was recently removed.
In an effort to make the pool so well used in the future that the question of doing away with it might not come up in future budget discussions, the Friends Of The Clearwater Beach Recreation Center and Library has begun discussions with Kevin Dunbar, head of Clearwater's Parks and Recreation Department. A committee from the Friends was well received by Mr. Dunbar and he encouraged them to move forward with ideas and support for more programs and more publicity to encourage use of the pool.
Statistics show that use of the pool by non-residents is prevalent, leaving the conclusion that the pool is an important tourism attraction in our community. Although the number of people using the pool has declined in recent years, the decline in numbers is directly proportioned to the reduction in the length of time the pool is open.
An ad-hoc committee of the Friends has discussed with Mr. Dunbar the possibility of solar heating of the pool to provide year-round availability. This, they believe, would increase attendance and enhance its use by visitors to the community, as well as residents who spend summer months in the Gulf of Mexico, but would use the pool if it were open and heated.
Mr. Dunbar has agreed to work with a citizen committee to implement some of the recommendations brought to him.
When it was announced that the pool was slated for closing, a community meeting, held by the Friends, was well attended as was the subsequent budget meeting with the City Council. What is needed now, according to Ron Delp, chairman of the ad-hoc committee, is to form a permanent advisory committee and enlist the interest and cooperation of all of the organizations on the Clearwater Islands. Anyone interested in participating is invited to e-mail Mr. Delp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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