Townsend Park pool idea not dead yet

Pine Bluff Alderwoman Irene Holcomb said Thursday that she doesn’t want citizens to have to wait on the construction of a proposed multi-purpose community center for a public-access swimming pool.

The idea became a hot issue again during Monday night’s Pine Bluff City Council meeting when citizen Shelia Moon bemoaned the continuing lack of a pool in Townsend Park, where an old pool is now inoperable and filled-in.

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. told Moon that the proposed community center would have an indoor aquatic facility to replace the park’s pool. The community center is a long-range goal that will have to be financed with donations, as the 2011 voter-approved tax increase won’t generate enough monies for it along with approved earmarks.

“Saying we’re going to build a multi-purpose community center and put a pool in it is like me saying I’m going to build a mansion someday,” Holcomb responded to the mayor.

Redus’ reply included a reference to “dedication,” which raised Holcomb’s ire.

“Don’t go there with me,” Holcomb said. “Don’t question my dedication.”

“We all signed off on the bond issue,” said Redus.

“We need to make this (a public pool) happen,” Holcomb told Redus. “We ought to be able to do something with the old pool at Townsend Park. It’s not much bigger than a bath tub, anyway. I can make things happen, if you’ll cooperate.”

“Consider that done,” said Redus.

Holcomb said Thursday that the topic had been brought before the council several times, but “no serious dialogue has been held for a while.” She said she wants to “follow proper protocol” on the matter. “I strive to do things right,” she said.

“Waiting for a multi-purpose community center just doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. “It doesn’t make sense that a city this size doesn’t have a public-access pool. We had one for years and we ought to have one again.”

Holcomb is cautious on offering a possible time-frame on her notion.

“I certainly think it’s a worthwhile venture,” she said, “but it may carry an astronomical figure. Meanwhile, I do think that the multi-purpose center will happen, but it may take a long time to become reality. And I think some people might prefer an outside pool.”