Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Bridges: Westshore Pool’s final chapter

The Westshore Pool was built and operated under a joint agreement between the Lakeport Unified School District (LUSD), the county of Lake, and the city of Lakeport. It provided recreation, much-needed swim lessons for our youth, relief from heat for everyone and a home for the local swim team for over 30 years.

Like all aging structures it eventually needed to be repaired or replaced. In 2014, the past Lakeport Unified School Board and superintendent proposed a bond issue for a food service dining area, a new library/computer center and a new swimming pool.

With much public support by myself and others the public approved the bond for the described projects.

At that point the past school board went “off the rails” and approved extravagant projects that in my opinion vastly exceeded the scope, scale and cost of the “advertised” bond projects.

The dining area became a $4.2 million culinary arts kitchen and cafeteria and the library/computer center became a multimillion dollar three-story high edifice that only has one floor and $10,000 power windows for ventilation. It looks more like a government monument or religious shrine than a simple building to house books and computers.

When the voters in 2018 tossed out the school board that wasted most of the bond funds, the newly elected board’s hands were tied and there wasn’t enough money to build a new pool. The idea to repair the existing pool was scrapped when it was discovered that it had been allowed to go dry and had “popped out of the ground,” rendering it unusable.

The school board is now soliciting bids for what is entitled the “Westshore Pool Demolition Project.” I understand this action is prompted by trespass and safety issues that are well-founded. That will be the end of this valuable community asset.

The South County enjoys the Middletown Pool paid for by all the taxpayers of the county. The North County has no place for swim lessons that save lives or swim teams.

It is time for the city of Lakeport, the county, and the LUSD to step up and work together to build the pool that serves the north end of the county. It does not need to be a lavish project, just a pool like they have in Middletown.

We have an election coming up for the county supervisor who represents the greater Lakeport area. We need a person who can work with a team, and get this important project built and going for our most valuable asset, our youth.

Bob Bridges lives in Lakeport, California.

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