By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal
In an interesting turn of events during the March 26 workshop about the fate of the Commerce City Pool, members of the Commerce Parks and Recreation Board said they will begin seeking a petition to hold a special election to pass a bond to build a recreation center that would include a new pool.
Tony Henry, a former councilmember for Commerce, brought up the issue and urged citizens to act on it.
“This is something that needs to be seriously considered,” he said. “We would have something for the older generation and youth to come and congregate.”
In order to hold a bond election for the citizens to vote, the board will need a minimum of 618 signatures and the petition will need to be returned to the city secretary within two months.
Marc Clayton, city manager for Commerce, said he would agree to the bond measure, stating he believes in the democratic system.
“I don’t disagree with that,” he said. “Put it up for a vote and let people vote on it.”
At first, the council looked at ways to save the existing pool, and had both Ricky Harris, director of Parks and Recreation for the city, and Robert Baxter Jr., with Texas Waterworks, complete evaluations of the pool.
During his visit, Baxter estimated that it would cost between $230,000 and $260,000 to get the pool operational again.
In his report, Baxter recommended demolishing the existing facility instead of trying to rebuild the pool for the next swimming season.
Councilwoman Sue Davis agreed with Baxter that the money isn’t in the budget to repair the pool.
“We would love to have new facilites,” she said, adding that no one on the council wanted to close the pool. “We’ve gone over and over, with Covidien leaving, $300,000 is unacceptable at the moment.”
In a January workshop, Dr. Lavelle Hendricks and Jackie Morriss proposed to help campaign for funds to construct a splashpark.
But according to Hendricks, he was not aware at the time of the pool closing.
“It is not my intent to bring about divisions,” he said. “Jackie and I are committed to throw all of our resources together. Whether we go this path or that path, we want what is best for our children.”
Henry said, although the city didn’t need a new pool when he was in office, the city needs one now.
“It’s time for us to come together and get this done,” Henry said.