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Councilman: Why isn't wading pool open?

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
June 9, 2009
— City Council member Bill Truman on Monday was clearly frustrated by the delay in the opening of the wading pool in Riverside Park.

The pool was closed in 2002 for budget reasons, but an active friends group convinced council members the pool should be reopened to aid in the renaissance of the park. The council voted to do so in spring 2008, but floodwaters put last summer's opening on hold.


This year, staff again has said high water levels are making it impossible to open the pool along with other aquatic facilities.


But Truman wasn't buying it.


Staff has used flooding as the reason for the delay for quite some time, he said. Truman then held up pictures he took Friday showing a dry pool.


The vessel again held water after Monday's downpour, he said.


Truman said he's seen other work going on along riverfront property, including a construction crew fixing a water ski show ramp in Traxler Park.


"I'd like to know where Riverside Pool stands," he said. "I think the time of high water and using the flood as an excuse is long gone. It's been one excuse after another."


Truman said prep work should be going on right now, and the city should get bids so the work can be done immediately when the high water recedes.


"This is why it should be a priority," Truman said, telling Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt "somebody slipped up in the administration prior to you getting here."


Levitt said the pool opening has been delayed for several reasons, including modifying the drain to comply with a new federal law. He added that high water is an issue, as even when the vessel is dry, water can be seen in the drain.


"My ultimate goal is the same as your goal—to get it done," Levitt said.


Levitt also agreed it is extremely important to get the pool open, especially because the swim season is so short in Janesville.


"I am as frustrated as you are," he told Truman.


Levitt said he would put the item on the June 22 agenda if he doesn't see progress this week.


"If it does go on (the agenda), I'd like to see it open for a public hearing," Truman said.


Other business

The Janesville City Council on Monday also:


-- Approved giving HealthNet $125,000 to expand its downtown free clinic to serve more clients. The money came from federal stimulus funds. The council also OK'd another $10,000 for the Literacy Connection, formerly the Janesville Literacy Council, for a job-skills counselor.


-- Approved the purchase of property at 614 W. Court St. for $45,000. The lot is adjacent to a city parking lot, and one suggested use is to provide space for the increasing number of tour buses visiting The Armory, a nearby dinner theater and restaurant.


Numerous neighbors spoke in favor of the purchase, saying the vacant house is an eyesore and in the past housed drug dealers.


Burdette Erickson, 115 S. High St., said additional parking is needed in the area.


"We're so pleased to have The Armory in the neighborhood and the kind of people that it brings to our neighborhood for a change," he said. "We're used to seeing limos parking in our neighborhood, but (they used to be) owned by the drug dealers."


Now, the limos are filled with well-dressed people coming to the neighborhood for entertainment.


"It's a major asset to the downtown," Erickson said.


K. Andreah Briarmoon, though, said other businesses must pay for their parking.


"How does the city decide which businesses to purchase parking for?" she asked. She suggested turning High Street into a one-way street so buses can park on one side.


Council members said the property is adjacent to a city-owned lot, and its ultimate use is not yet known.


-- Approved a resolution to eliminate childhood poverty. A task force will be formed by August with the hopes of getting a report suggesting action within six months.



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