Community Board: Local pool talks sink

Lead lifeguard and instructor Jake Garcia gets creative as he dives into the pool during a break in between open swim and afternoon swim lessons Tuesday at San Benito High School.

Nearly a year has gone by since the cancellation of the city’s summer swim program at San Benito High School due to concerns over the pool infrastructure. And another year has gone by without any serious talks on putting together a viable plan to develop a new one or an aquatics center.
In recent weeks, the City of Hollister posted a similar notice as last year’s announcement about summer swim. It was canceled, meaning there won’t be a public place for the community to take their kids for lessons, stay active in the water for fitness, or enjoy some relief from the heat.
It’s frustrating that a community like Hollister and its surrounding areas don’t maintain a public pool facility. Having access to pool facilities, particularly in a Mediterranean climate, seems like a basic necessity for a community of more than 55,000 people, including the county’s population.
It’s understandable to a certain extent that San Benito County remains in transition from a farm town to something bigger, but it’s inexcusable that the issue of providing pool access has gone to the backburner when it comes to serious talks.
Government entities, which would have to lead the fundraising effort, certainly need money before they can build a pool. They also need plans and direction, though, and that’s where this process has disappointingly stalled, meaning this community will be starting from scratch on that end if and when the funding comes through.
It’s better to get a plan in place and at least have an idea honed for a direction, as the San Benito High School District weighs whether to float a $60 million bond that could include some funds for such a partnership. Because in the meantime, more time is going by for this community’s families who don’t have a place to take their children for a simple swim.

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