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Green Street Pool is now in its second summer of dispiriting vacancy. Anyone who has the heart to do so can drive by and see the yawning chasm littered with debris.
Perhaps, if you close your eyes, you can hear the fading echoes of the past 77 summers. However, those echoes cannot compare to the actual sound of joyful families jumping from the diving board and shivering with the sublime pleasure of submerging in cool water after absorbing the heat of the sun-warmed deck.
Unfortunately, those days are gone and now the pool is a daily reminder of city leadership's decision to finance a $16 million facility located on the outskirts of town and is no longer safely accessed by foot or bicycle.
On April 2, 2009, The Times published an article in which the director of Parks and Recreation assured the public that the site will continue to be an attractive neighborhood feature and will be maintained until the funds come available for its new look.
Now, tastes do differ, but I would be willing to bet that the current condition of the pool is a contributing factor to the many homes in Long Street Hills and surrounding areas that have sat unsold for months. How can the city expect prospective residents to be attracted to a town that has so little regard for such an important piece of its history? Why would anybody purchase a home in a town that moves its facilities away from the city center when they could find a home in almost any county subdivision with a swimming pool just blocks away?
How is it possible to fund a multimillion-dollar aquatic center while simultaneously killing a centrally located recreation facility that operated on a tiny fraction of the cost of the Frances Meadows Center?
I wish I knew the answers to these questions.
I wish our city could keep some of its small-town charm rather than following the trend of places like Gwinnett County with its strip malls, traffic headaches and drive-up-only recreation. I wish the children of Gainesville could be a short walk or bike ride away from summer fun.
Most of all, I wish the citizens of Gainesville could come together to bring back the sun-drenched and laughter filled glory of Green Street Pool. I am willing to do my part to make it happen; are you?