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Ronda Graff

Community Connections

News and views from the McCook Community Foundation Fund

Opinion

Time to invest in town long overdue

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Anyone who has ever read this column knows that I try to stay positive, focusing on the good things happening in our community and how to get involved. At the same time, my personal views and feelings make into the mix, as well as tidbits about my family much to their chagrin.

But like many people who are in a ďmoodĒ these days whether due to the pandemic, politics, heck, even the weather, I found myself tested this week to keep an upbeat outlook.

Every few months and more recently every few weeks, the McCook pool project rises to the top of the conversation in the community. People want to know how it is coming along, what is included, why hasnít something been done yet, how they can help. All these are valid questions and concerns that I take seriously as a member of the McCook pool committee.

But as the kids return to school and summer comes to end, I had to face the cold, hard truth that McCook went an entire summer without an outdoor pool - even one that has water so cold that we would need to be located in Death Valley to make it palatable.

And to make matters even worse, we -- and by we I mean the city, the city council, the pool committee -- are no closer to a new pool plan than we were at the beginning of summer or even when the pool closed at the end of last season.

As to why we still donít have a new pool, it is no oneís fault, yet everyoneís fault that we havenít moved forward. At the end of the day, we must admit that we are long overdue to make these big investments in our community.

As with any project, it is going to take people coming together to find common ground. It is going to take people compromising on what they want so that everyone can be satisfied. It is going to take people taking a risk on something that may fail or may be difficult to achieve. It is going to be hard work to make this project happen.

While I am focused on the pool, we could just as easily be talking about any number of possible projects in the community. Maybe it is improved ballparks, expanded walking trails, a remodeled convention center. The possibilities are endless.

So how do we move forward? Iíll repeat what I wrote on a Facebook post earlier this week about the possibility of building a splash pad in McCook and itís connection to the pool.

One step is to let city council members know you want this to move forward, whether it is the pool, a splash pad or any project.

Also, please feel free to contact me or anyone on the pool committee (list is available on the city website) with your ideas asap because it will be the pool committee which will take a concept to the city council.

I love to sit down with anyone for coffee to talk pools and get ideas, even building a water slide down Kelly Park.

I feel this entire project needs to be transparent and the community needs to be involved.

The people need to have a say in what they want in an aquatic center. Should it have a lazy river or is a couple slides enough? Should it include a splash pad nearby or at a different location in town?

They need to have a say in where it is located. Do we keep it where it has always been or should we be looking at how a new bathhouse and locker room could serve multiple purposes in the community?

They need to let it be known how long the pool should be open during the year. Should the pool be strictly summer-only or a mix of indoor-outdoor facility?

The McCook Community Foundation Fund recently updated its vision statement to simplify its purpose: Making McCook an even better place to call home.

It is already a great place to call home, but there are things we can do to make it better and that is done by investing in our community. It is time for all of us - from the City of McCook and organizations, to businesses and individuals -- to invest in our community with their time and financial support. It is time to make an investment in our families, in our kids and in our future.

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