Last updated: January 21. 2014 4:09PM - 1258 Views
By Travis McMullen Contributing Columnist

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“Thank you Mark Hewett, you did the right thing. We need to do this right the first time. I also think you need to wait until you can afford indoor pools,” went one comment in the recent edition of the Sedline.

As I hope you know, the Sedalia municipal election is on April 8. I hope you all get out there and vote, because it is important. Sedalia Mayor Elaine Horn decided against running for another term and we’ll be deciding who gets to take her place. A good city needs a good leader, after all.

But there’s one measure that isn’t going to appear on this ballot: The Sedalia City Council, on advisement from the Sedalia Park Board, voted to postpone the vote on a half-cent sales tax that would go toward funding the new Sedalia Community Center.

We’re looking right over the edge here: many people have discussed the community center throughout the years, and there seems to be a general idea that such an establishment is one of the final pieces to a better and brighter Sedalia.

And we’re almost there. Sure, many of the activities and spaces that one could enjoy inside of a community center can be found piecemeal throughout the city: many schools have designated open gym time and there is a walking track or two to be found. But we live in a relatively modern city of more than 20,000 people and a community center is just something we should have on general principal.

One of the current major obstacles to finalizing the plans for construction seems to be the potential addition of at least one swimming pool. A swimming pool is a trickier thing to build than just a space for meetings or physical activities. And rest assured that it is expensive, more expensive than it should be for digging a hole in the ground and filling it with concrete.

And there is going to be the debate about the absolute necessity of creating space for aquatic activities. I think it is safe to describe the community center as long awaited and I can completely understand the thoughts of the people who would prefer to see it built without a pool just as long as it gets constructed relatively quickly.

But it seems to me that the swimming pool is an institution of the great American community center. There are some kids playing basketball, a pool, one of those vibrating belt machines and a jazzy tune on the record player. All right, so my vision is a little outdated. But just ask anyone you see to describe some of the things that can be found at the standard neighborhood community center and I bet that “pool” will be at least in the top five responses. Making decisions through the Family Feud process is always the right thing to do!

Seriously though, I am of the opinion that our community center won’t feel complete without a pool. And even if they are not included in the original construction I imagine there will be plans to add them eventually and you can rest assured that they will be even more expensive to add after the fact. If the community center is ever going to have a pool, we should probably include it in the original construction to save money.

And with the current plan, that will seek to move the Sedalia Senior Center into the space at the Community Center, I think there is an obvious group of people who will be able to benefit immediately from some quality pool time.

The Sedalia Senior Center is a great establishment that caters to a fine group of individuals and I can just imagine how they feel about potentially having a pool on premises. Water aerobics and other low-impact pool activities have been shown to be a positive for the health of our well seasoned friends. “Water-based exercise can benefit older adults by improving the quality of life and decreasing disability,” according to a study by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.

A senior center with a pool is a senior center I’d want to be a part of.

Of course, I’m a little biased. I love a good pool like few Midwesterners do. As a hemophiliac, I’ve always been figuratively pushed toward the pool because it carries a smaller risk of potential injuries than merely doing things on the ground. I liked gym class at the Sedalia Middle School more than any other gym class I’ve ever had because we always had a couple of weeks where we got to use the pool. When I get to a hotel, the first thing I need to know are the pool hours.

And I know there are other people in Sedalia with similar afflictions, not just hemophilia, that would appreciate having consistent access to an indoor pool.

Not to mention the people who like to use pools for the sake of using them.

Do you think that the Sedalia Community Center should postpone construction long enough to secure funding for a pool?

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