Community center is vital for Sedalia

Travis McMullen - Contributing Columnist

For years now the good people of the State Fair City have been clamoring for a Community Center. Former Sedalia Mayor Bob Wasson was a top proponent of the project during his time in office and it looks like we’re going to have the perfect bow to put on his family’s legacy of service to Sedalia with a new Community Center.

You probably read the story right here in the pages of The Sedalia Democrat by reporter Nicole Cooke about the City Council presentation by Parks and Recreation Director Mark Hewett. The plan is solid, the land has already been acquired and the artist renderings inspire a lot of confidence like good renderings usually do.

But as of this writing, 100 percent of responders in the comment section underneath the story on The Sedalia Democrat website all have the same problem with this plan: Where’s the indoor pool? Our collective image of a Community Center usually comes complete with a sweet indoor aquatic facility.

“A community center without an indoor pool does not appeal to me,” wrote Judy Miller Petrie. “Water exercise is the best, why can smaller towns have indoor, year around pools but we cannot. I am sure the center would be a ‘nicety’ for Sedalia, but cannot support it without the pool.”

I’ve got to admit that I might be a little biased when it comes to the importance of a pool. As a hemophiliac I’ve been told all my life that I should stick mostly to low-impact physical activities like swimming or golf. In the modern day we know that an enterprising hemophiliac can do anything he or she wants to do as long as they take the necessary medicinal precautions. But I do still love a good dip in the pool.

My idea of the perfect Community Center would be little more than a grand indoor water park: there will be a lazy river that can take you to any part of the center, and you just casually get in and get out where you need to go like a floating highway loop. There will be crazy slides, acceptable food at the seaside snack bar and a hot tub section for a little liquid relaxation. We might have to nix the wave pool; there might not be enough room.

Sure, there are two other great outdoor aquatic facilities here in Sedville but they’re really only open for one season each year and there are always a handful of casual daily service cancellations due to low temperatures. It would definitely be nice to have access to an indoor pool that will be open for any season – I’d probably take advantage of that more than all the other Community Center services combined.

There’s probably not going to be enough funding to build an indoor pool in what they’re calling “Phase one” of the project and with the current plan there’s not enough room for an enclosed pool. It seems to me that we should change up the plans a little bit and incorporate Liberty Pool into the upcoming work rather than leaving it as-is and merely combining it with the planned complex.

What I’m saying here is this: maybe it would be more beneficial to convert Liberty Pool into an indoor pool and a wing of the planned center than to build one somewhere else at some point in the future. We could keep a little sun deck for those who go to the local pool and spend most of their time tanning and those who demand an outdoor pool would still have Centennial. The top of the slide could be enclosed in some sort of cool roof bubble!

But in any case we probably shouldn’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Yes, I would prefer to see a Community Center that has an indoor pool from the beginning, but I’m not going to sit here and insist that my perfect vision be brought to life if it is going to cause more problems and more delays for one of the city’s most highly anticipated public facilities.

Travis McMullen

Contributing Columnist

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

Travis McMullen is a longtime Sedalia resident who shares his views on the city through his weekly Democrat column.

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