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The original item was published from 5/22/2015 11:29:52 AM to 10/1/2015 12:05:02 AM.

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Butte-Silver Bow

Posted on: May 22, 2015

[ARCHIVED] A new public pool is a must for Butte

A public swimming pool is not an unneeded frippery. It's one of the best things a city can do to improve the quality of life for children, promote healthy exercise for seniors, and relaxation for just about everyone.

And as envisioned in the latest plans from Butte-Silver Bow, for a few dollars more a year, Butte can build something beyond a basic hole in the ground that would significantly enhance the city's draw as a regional tourist destination as well as a place to live.

Bonding is not always the best approach for funding civic projects -- but it's certainly appropriate for a capital project like this that has such obvious long-term benefit.

Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent is right to ask, "What do our kids do?" If the answer to that isn't always what we want it to be, how about giving them a non-electronic, outdoor option that could lead them to a lifetime of healthy habit?

We already have a half a generation of kids who are growing up without a public pool since the Stodden Park pool was closed a decade ago. And it's good to remember that when the pool was open, it was the most heavily used parks and recreation amenity in the city. We're talking hundreds of kids a day, every day it's open.

No, it won't be used year-round. But that's hardly the point. In the height of summer, it's not a very convincing argument to have to say, "Our summer here just isn't long enough for a pool to be useful, kids. Sorry about that."

Do we need a "wave pool" or a "lazy river"? Perhaps not -- but we see the logic of adding some elements beyond a basic pool, to increase the facility's attraction and utility. A water slide, for instance, would definitely be a plus for the children, and the added cost of such features just isn't that great.

While the aid to economic development such a facility would provide is real and attractive, to us the far more convincing argument is what it would mean for our children.

Let's not kick this one around much longer. Let's just do it.

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