Pool prospects at least worth investigating
by Sam Matthews
Nov 01, 2013 | 4809 views | 5 5 comments | 483 483 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Who knows what the fate of the Joe Wilson swimming pool will be? But at least last week’s column prompted a number of townspeople to take another look at it.

I did receive several supportive phone calls and in-person comments indicating that the issue needs to be revisited at a time when the City Council and city staff are awaiting proposals from The Surland Cos. and Wild Rivers LLC for development of water parks.

The online comments that followed the column on the Press web site were all over the map, some supportive of putting the pool in Dr. Powers Park back into use, others critical.

One of the critical ones kept mentioning that Joe Wilson Pool is obsolete, but that’s a pretty broad, undefined term. The Tracy Plunge, Tracy’s onetime community swimming pool, continued in use for 55 years — from 1931 to 1986. Obviously, it took more than a half-century for that pool to become obsolete.

One reader posted a comment that warmed my heart:

“If his pool is of quality construction and can be brought back to life for under $2 million, it certainly deserves our consideration. Tracy gets VERY hot in the summer, and our children certainly need more cool, healthy recreation. I recall driving by and seeing everyone having a wonderful time there. Not all pools need to be for competition. We need an evaluation by a reputable pool contractor and re-think this.”

Amen. A professional look at the present condition of the pool and what would be needed to bring it up to standard — outlining options in the process — would either confirm or even adjust the present $1.9 million-to-$2 million estimate and move the discussion of the pool’s future along.

We won’t know unless that new look becomes a reality, and the time to decide to make that happen is soon approaching.

Ina takes her leave

Ina Bland is moving to Volcano in the Sierra foothills today after living in Tracy 50 years. The loss of a former “first lady” of Tracy provides another reminder of the passing of a generation of leaders who had a lot to do with shaping the development of our town.

Ina, now 82, is the widow of Clyde Bland, who was Tracy’s mayor for four years, from 1990 to 1994, at a time when planning and managing growth was high on the City Council’s agenda. Before and after serving on the council, Clyde had been on the city planning commission.

The Blands, both former residents of Rogers, Ark. — famed for being the location of the first Walmart — had lived in Minnesota before moving to Tracy in 1963. Ina’s sister, Dixie Jeghers, had moved here earlier, and the Blands followed.

“It doesn’t at all seem like we came here 50 years ago,” Ina told me on the phone this week. “Tracy welcomed us, and we felt this was ‘our home’ right away.”

Ina will be living with son Charles and his family in Volcano, near Jackson in Amador County.

I should note that the mayor who followed Clyde was Dan Bilbrey. And I have become aware that Dan is experiencing serious health problems, as his coffee buddies at The Roasted Bean will tell you.

A lot of us in Tracy are joining those buddies in expressing our concern for Dan in his struggle and send our warmest greetings to him.

Seniors will dine at 5 p.m.

Dave and Pam Warta are moving right along on their plans for the Tracy’s Home for the Holidays community celebration Nov. 23 and 24.

A couple of items about the event in a recent column need some corrections: The annual dinner of senior citizens that concludes the event on Monday, Nov. 25, begins at 5 p.m.

Also the “passport” participating stores now number 17, and the Saturday-morning breakfast will cost $8 for children younger than 12.

• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at shm@tracypress.com.

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November 01, 2013
An open challenge ta Tracy Press

Since ya seem ta be fannin th flames of discontent over th pool, why not do a detailed, historical, unbiased, article regardin th City's efforts ta replace th Joe Wilson pool. Don't ferget all of th City Council meetins an actions, th Parks an Community Service meetins an actions an be certain ta include other possible sites fer a replacement pool an why th public continually shot down th overall idea. Also, mention all of th consultant information, includin costs an planned amenities, pertainin ta all previous attempts of th City back ta say, 1995. I am certain most people livin in th city taday don't have a clear picture as ta how Tracy got ta th place whair it is with respect ta a public pool.

Note: All of th City Council an Parks an Recreation meetins have recorded minutes which are fairly detailed an a matter of public record. So ya shouldn't really have much of a problem puttin tagether a piece. Trouble is, ya probably won't be able ta point th accusin finger of blame at th City, which seems ta have been a popular pastime of TP fer th last 20 years or so.
November 01, 2013
Ornley -- Details regarding the time-line and decisions regarding "water-related-venues" in Tracy are more likely to come from you than the TP and I look forward to you providing a least a brief synopsis of what has gone on.

In the two years that my wife and our four high school age kids have lived in Tracy, I've seen discussions of:

1. An aquatic center without a pool funded mostly by taxes on land to be donated to the City as a bribe to allow construction of homes on farm land in the airport's safety zones. Essentially they seem to be offering some land that they bought for a few thousand an acre and in return the city will let them convert the rest of the cheap land into valuable building lots.

2. The above mentioned aquatic center plus a competition pool to be added later -- again funded by taxes.

3. The above mentioned aquatic center and pool to be funded and operated by an experienced private company.

4. The above mention facility to be funded and built by the the developer offering the free land.

5. The resurrection of the old Joe Wilson pool.

Lots of talk -lots of choices -lots of decisions...but is there any money to fund the City's entire share of any of these?
November 01, 2013
Given our newspaper's lack of fiscal responsibility represented in last weeks column about our representatives in congress... I'm pretty sure spending two to ten mil dollars makes sense? I guess some folks think our government can fork over blank checks till - who knows when? Obviously not those writing the editorials.

I wonder if Sam could write a column and share with us if he would advocate a private developer. Otherwise I really feel he is boiling the oceans here.
November 01, 2013
One of the critical ones kept mentioning that Joe Wilson Pool is obsolete, but that’s a pretty broad, undefined term. The Tracy Plunge, Tracy’s onetime community swimming pool, continued in use for 55 years — from 1931 to 1986. Obviously, it took more than a half-century for that pool to become obsolete.

Read more: Tracy Press - Pool prospects at least worth investigating

Glad this was brought out.

In 1931 - 1886 there were drowning accidents related to pump vents at the bottom of pools, across America.

We cannot simply open our city pool to the risk of litigation. No insurance company in their right mind, in this day and age would take that financial risk. With respect to finances how much more is the newspaper holding back from us?
November 01, 2013

It warms my heart that you championed this discussion, but it boils the oceans to stir a pot that big. And to be quite honest, I really think you are not telling the whole story. You sweetened the pot by saying it could be a 2 mil dollar pool. And that's fine an dandy, but why don't you suggest a private developer build it? That way we can look at the plan and comment.

Otherwise it seems to me you're stirring the pot? First opening it up to comments will only serve to create more arguing? Is that how to sell newspapers? The competition pool you mentioned last week costs ten mil dollars.

You only served to start the arguing all over again. You also failed to mention if there would be any opposition to a ten mil dollar pool.

I suggest a private developer pay for it. So, what are your thoughts on that one?

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