RP OKs opening of M pool
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By Jud Snyder  May 17, 2013 12:00 am

There may be pre-Fourth of July fireworks going up in the sky this week in Rohnert Park’s M Section, for the city council has approved opening the M swimming pool in Magnolia Park. It’s only for this summer but will be started out on a Saturday and Sunday only program to see how attendance by youth and families measure up according to predictions. It could be to expanded to five days a week later this summer. Both time periods are June 1 to Aug. 25.

Public works Director John McArthur and Callinan Sports Center Manager Guy Miller estimated the cost of opening M pool for five days a week this summer would cost the city $37,200, and that includes a 10 percent loss in H pool revenue and a 20 percent loss in B pool revenue. 

For operating M pool only on weekends would be $18,700, with a  smaller revenue loss to H and B pools. Miller also cited several money-saving steps to help cover costs. They included closing Gold Ridge School programs, eliminating senior center coordinator position and closing H pool from October through March. None were favored by the council.

Vice-Mayor Joe Callinan made the motion to open M pool on Saturday and Sunday only and Councilwoman Gina Belforte seconded it. “We need a solution,” she said. Callinan accepted an amendment dealing with a five-day week later this summer before August 25.

Councilman Jake Mackenzie, noticing a burst of applause from M section residents in the chamber when someone suggested “Why not a key for residents and no lifeguards on duty?” But they were reminded this idea raises knotty insurance coverage problems, they were told by City Attorney Michele Kenyon. 

 The council hall was mostly filled with parents cuddling infants and escorting toddlers who added a young emphasis to the cheers of their parents.

The final vote was 4-1 with only Mayor Pam Stafford dissenting. “I can’t agree with opening M pool. The city’s rubber band is about to break and we still have a $2.3 million deficit thanks to loss of redevelopment funds.

“I think its better to figure out what to do about M pool with a long-run plan.”

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