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Council wants change at local aquatic park

December 1, 2011
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Kudos to Fairmont City Council members who tackled questions related to Fairmont's Aquatic Park this week. We believe Councilman Joe Kallemeyn hit the issue right on the head with three questions:?Why so many lifeguards? Why not be open later, into the evenings? And, can the park open for the season earlier and close later? Those match the questions we would ask, and are questions people in the community most often raise. (Many people also ask whether the park is worth the cost, but that's a different matter altogether.)

Those who oversee the water park, from its managers right up to leaders at City Hall, offer answers that relate to public safety, liability issues for the city and scheduling conflicts involving lifeguards. We can understand their points.

Yet council members pressed forward - we hope - because they feel like the public should have a say in the operation of the park. It is, after all, a public facility and one that is subsidized to the tune of $100,000 annually. Whether council members meant it or not, their questions pushed an underlying theme:?Who decides what kind of water park the city will have? Lawyers? Lifeguards? Or, citizens?

We believe the council has made a good start in addressing the issues raised. For instance, it sounds like the park could be open later after July 4, when swimming lessons end and the weather gets hottest. We'll see now if the council can make its imprint in other areas.



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