The Dimond Park community aquatic center is on the ballot with the intent to fund it with a temporary 1 percent sales tax. Several candidates for Assembly have stated the aquatic center is not an essential item, such as sewer and airport expansion. I beg to differ on this "essential" issue.
There are many features of a livable community that attract new families and bring back our young people after college. A livable community offers affordable housing, jobs, transportation, access to services such as grocery stores and activities for leisure time such as parks, sports and the arts. Juneau needs opportunities for their residents all year round, not just in the summer for tourists.
We may expand the airport for "potential" air carriers and alleviate long lines (only in the summer) and build more parking lots that obstruct the view downtown. Yet we don't take care of our own residents during the rest of the year when the weather is rainy and dark, and half of downtown is closed and boarded up.
Juneau needs a pool in the valley. Juneau has been discussing building a second "public" swimming pool for more than 15 years. Public is the key word for this proposition. This facility will have a reasonable low cost fee for all residents, not just those able to afford a private club during limited hours. In a water-based community like Juneau, we need more opportunities for children and adults to learn how to swim.
The Augustus Brown Pool is currently over capacity and doesn't meet the needs of our town. By building the Dimond Park Aquatic Facility, we will be able to reinstitute the Juneau School District program to teach every third grade student how to swim, as part of their normal education schools. The pool will be used by a large number of Juneau residents and visitors. The lap pool will be used for regular exercise, swim practice, and competition. Features in the recreational pool will also appeal to seniors, therapeutic users and people with disabilities. The pool will be affordable, on the bus route and bike/walking path.
These features of easy access and affordability promote physical activity and hopefully engage our citizens in life long healthy habits. I urge voters to support this priority proposition that reaches everyone in Juneau and makes Juneau a more livable community all year round.