Letter: New Hope needs to rethink pool plans

To the editor:
On Aug. 14, about 40 people went to the New Hope City Council to request they rethink proposed plans for redesigning the pool.
Several residents from New Hope and several from neighboring cities spoke about why the pool’s current design is preferred, how the outdoor 50-meter length is a unique asset to the city (one of only three left in the Twin Cities), and how it is a benefit for all ages in the community.
Grandparents expressed the joy of playing with grandchildren in wide open water. A long time swim instructor spoke of the benefits of a large pool for maintaining a robust learn-to-swim program. Area swim coaches reiterated the decades-long need for a 50-meter pool to train the hundreds of swimmers from the region, and adults expressed appreciation for lap swimming for fitness and training. Several parents mentioned the open space for creative and cooperative play and how their children prefer to go to the New Hope Pool.
The theme echoed out loud and clear: Do not change the fundamental design of the pool. It is a treasured and unique asset to the city.
The mayor stated that the city hall must be moved to the current pool site, citing a need for soil remediation. However, according to city records and past council minutes, updating the current pool on the current site is an option that could realize greater savings to the city, even with soil remediation costs included.
Her insistence that a 50-meter pool design cannot be used isn’t accurate and ignores the expressed desires of the community.
I am afraid that the so-called “options” coming from city hall are predicated on personal preference and convenience for some decision makers in the city and, even worse, on citing feedback from a tiny fraction of the community who have been given incomplete information.
I am calling on the mayor and city council to begin this process again, increase efforts to reach the community and most importantly, provide full and accurate information. With the amount of input you are now receiving, anything less is irresponsible.

Charis Linebaugh,
New Hope