Wednesday, August 10

City Water Park Plan All Wet

Well, the vacation from blogging is almost over. While I have been slacking (from posting, at least), the news from Great Falls keeps getting more and more interesting. In the coming days, I will write some “delayed” posts about things that have come up this summer.

The first issue that really got my blood boiling was a front-page article in the Tribune on the city’s swimming facilities. Apparently, the city hired an engineer to take stock of the city’s pools, and suggests $2-3 Million in repairs and upgrades. While some of the recommendations are repairs and may make sense (new gutters and filters, etc.), a number of the ideas seem to be cooked up out of an idea that “You have to entertain the swimmer, rather than just give him a pool of water” (quoted from the prospective contractor).

It is thinking like this that gave our city the multi-million dollar white elephant flow rider. We will be paying the bill for that thing for years, and the only net result has made a Sunday outing to Mitchell Pool less affordable and enjoyable (“But Dad, Why can’t I ride the $9 per day Flow Rider????”)

Included in this grand scheme are some truly bad ideas for “upgrades” to the Marony Natatorium:

Addition of a hot-water spa would run $97,000, and wave-generation equipment would add $112,000. Expanding the building with an atrium and event room would cost another $523,500, Milne said. (from the article)

Excuse me, but why does the Nat need a hot water spa, wave-generation equipment, an atrium or an event room? I swim at the Nat during my lunch hour three times per week (or at least I try to do so). It is usually quite crowded as it is. Why fix what isn’t broken?

I will go on the record and state my opinion—the city should provide holes in the ground with clean water. Efforts should be made to keep those holes in the ground affordable to the most people possible.

Anything fancier than a hole in the ground should be left to private developers. If a business model could be made for a positive cash flowing wave rider, it would be built. If not, it should be left alone.


Mike said...

Welcome back...sort of :-)

david said...

Good to see you posting again, Aaron!

Treasure State Jew said...

Thanks; I just may keep it up!

ZenPanda said...

Welcome back.
The nat needs a few fixes yes...the rest is overkill. (Nice post here)

GeeGuy said...

I'm with you on this pool thing. I remember a few years ago when a (private) individual wanted to open a water park on the old Anaconda property. Someone with a better memory than I might contradict me, but I recall his idea being greeted with resistance from the City. Then..voila..we now own a water park. Hmmmm.

Maybe the City could actually help a developer start a new water facility? Oh, wait. It would compete with the existing water park that is already bleeding money. Good luck on seeing a private water park anytime soon.

And these guys are going to run a utility?