This blog is written by one of 15 individuals attending the South By Southwest Conference in Austin with the intention to bring back ideas and to reimagine Richland County.
Think about a memory that was created at a pool. Did you have fun? Did you enjoy the first jump into the pool on a hot summer day? Did you and your friends play “Marco Polo?” Was it cool and refreshing?
Since I was a young girl, the pool has been a key part of my life. I started on the summer swim team at the age of five and I still swim a couple times a week at the Mansfield Area Y. I have always “belonged” to a pool.
When I moved to Mansfield in 1993, we bought a house on Parkwood Boulevard. I would pack a picnic lunch and walk with my sons to Linden Pool. We would enjoy the day with friends and then walk home. Linden Pool is closed, the victim of age and costly repairs along with a tight city budget.
Two summers ago was the first time I did not join a pool. My budget could not justify the membership fee and the pool needed a lot of work.
Mansfield has only one public summer swimming pool, Liberty Park. It is crowded on most summer days, but it's also not in the best shape.
SXSW is held in Austin, which has 50 public swimming pools and splash pads. It gets hot in Austin and the pools are important to its residents.
The state of the public pools in Austin is not good, so the community came up with an aquatics plan and are trying to figure out how to fund up to $124 million for improvements and maintenance.
In order to get buy-in, Austin is engaging its citizens and local government in the plan process:
• Pools are important.
• They are a gathering place.
• They promote a sense of community.
• They improve health and well-being.
• They are a fun part of summer.
Perhaps part of the plan should include a new community pool.
Stay tuned and follow the progress via #SXSW419. And watch for more blogs at richlandsource.com/rising_from_rust/sxsw.