Big Spring Pool Stirs Up Controversy

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - Summer might be cooling off but the controversy surrounding the city pool in Big Spring is just starting to heat up. The City Council wants to either renovate the existing 80-year-old pool or build a new water park, but some people want to cast their votes.

On Tuesday night, the first item up to bat at the Big Spring City Council meeting is the pool. The Comanche Trail Park facility shut down earlier this year needing serious repairs.

So city leaders have two options: either get the old pool up to ADA requirements or build a new water park costing as much as $4.2 million.

"There are kids in our community that can't afford to do the things that they would love to do," Mayor Russ McEwen, said. "My feeling very strongly is, if we can provide an amenity to those kids, that keeps them off the street."

But Concerned Citizens of Big Spring spoke out. They want the public to vote on the issue.

"Time and time again, we're told our vote is not important," Steve Campbell, Vice Chair of Concernced Citizens of Big Spring, said. "They will handle it, they will take care of it for us. How many times do you have to hear your vote is not important before you don't bother going to the polls?"

"The logic is, let's decide what type of pool we want and that's what we're elected to do - make those kinds of decisions," Mayor McEwen said. "You don't set a referendum for everything that you do, otherwise there's no need to have a City Council."

Tuesday Night, the council had the first reading on the new tax rate; it was a five to one vote, making the difference 93 cents more each month for the average homeowner to help finance the project.

The Council also organized a committee to look at the specific design plans and meet with an engineering firm to determine exactly what the cost would be.

"We just want those things put on a ballot and our citizens told their vote is important," Campbell said.

"At this point and time, certificates of obligation makes sense to me," Mayor McEwen said. "Additionally, it allows us to open the pool a full year earlier."

McEwen tells NewsWest 9, whether they refurbish the old pool or build a new one they hope to have it ready by the Summer of 2011. The second reading on the tax rate will be in the next couple of weeks.