There are rumblings from a group of citizens advocating the construction of an indoor "aquatic center" in our fair city. The estimated cost? A whopping $9 million plus a huge annual price tag to maintain it, estimated at $300,000 to $400, 000. Such an endeavor would take additional bond money and approval by Maumelle voters.
There are a few larger communities with indoor aquatic centers including the city of North Little Rock, which has an indoor pool as part of its senior activity center. I think everyone would agree that it would nice to have an aquatic center. But is the idea practical or a priority for our community? Especially since we have a nice outdoor pool.
Last week’s paper featured a passionate plea from one parent, whose child is a member of a swim team, advocating the center so the swimmers would have a place to practice. I totally support community recreation and sports, but you have to look at cost versus usage. For instance, you can visit our soccer or baseball fields and they are packed with players from age 4 and up. And I am sure the fields cost nowhere near the amount of money as building or maintaining an aquatic center, and there can’t be nearly the same number of participants at a pool.
Let me propose this: Perhaps we need to take a closer look at perhaps funding much needed upgrades at Maumelle Water Management before we take a plunge into deep debt for a swim center. The water system upgrades are inevitable, and to me, seem more important than a center that would be used by a small percentage of the population. Like the cart before the horse, let’s make sure we have the clean water to put in the pool. I realize the funding sources for the projects are different and Maumelle Water is not part of the city government, but eventually it all comes out of our pocket.
My point is, let’s make sure we’re ready to pay for the right project that serves the most people in the most efficient manner. Stay tuned.
Sanders gets major media shout outs
One of the state senators representing the Maumelle area, Sen. David Sanders, received quite a bit of recognition from the liberal media this past week. Sanders is a Republican and an on-the-record conservative. First the Arkansas Times, probably the most liberal-leaning publication in the state, called him one of "Arkansas’ 25 Creative Thinkers" for his work on parole and healthcare reform. Max Brantley, often a critic of Sanders, wrote the profile of Sanders, also noting that Sanders would probably run for higher office. I would agree with him on that.
And in the same week, John Brummett, a liberal columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, gave Sanders one of his upwardly pointing "arrows," meaning he received Mr. Brummett’s approval. Brummett says of Senator Sanders: "He wasn’t much of a newspaper columnist, but he’s a solid state legislator. It’s an entirely different skill set. It turns out he is a policy wonk. He has superior command of those three aforementioned main issues — the private option, parole and teachers’ health insurance."
Before entering politics, Sanders wrote a column for Stephens Media and it appeared in this newspaper. I’ll be talking to him soon for a column.
Zoning meeting regarding Riverland home
Right down the street from where I live in Maumelle is a sign I’ve never seen since I’ve lived here. It says, "The Maumelle Board of Zoning Adjustment will hold a public hearing in regard to this property. For further information, contact Maumelle Planning and Zoning at 501-851-2500."
From what I hear, the primary issue is an office-type building in the backyard, although you can’t see it because they have built a compound-type fence around the backyard. Seems there has also been concern that there are often 10 or more cars parked at the house. The meeting is set for Tuesday, September 24, 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers if you’re interested.
Thanks for the support
As you saw in last week’s paper, the event for J.D. Bruning was phenomenal. Thanks to Bill Wallace at the Maumelle Country Club for hosting us and to this paper for their continuing support.
Remember, we can all make a difference. See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore owns a creative consulting firm, Neal Moore Creative. He has lived in Maumelle over 10 years. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter, @kneelmore