Splash pad promises amount to nothing

The Standard June 11, 2020 Letter to the Editor (not a faith column)

Eighteen years ago, the Farmville public pool was filled in after years of neglect made it cost-prohibitive to bring it up to code. The biggest concern was for modest-income families who couldn’t afford the country club, but the hope was the town would build something like a splash pad. For over eight years some elected representatives have promised one.

In 2016 the public library had a space needs consultation and in 2017 an architectural firm was sought for renovation and expansion. The engineer cited soil and foundation issues. In 2018 commissioners voted unanimously to demolish the library and build afresh and in 2019 to take out a $5 million loan for this. An extra $340,000 was spent for a trade for using a temporary library space.

In 2019 a project to provide 13 public parking spaces and an improved alley adjacent to the hardware store escalated suddenly from an original price tag of $200,000 to $520,000 of taxpayer money.

How can so much be allocated so quickly to certain projects while residents have waited 18 years for a pool replacement? Commissioner Brenda Elks said in The Standard on May 28, “I know we can’t put a splash pad in our budget now. Since I sat on this board [4.5 years], this is all we have talked about. We would love to do that eventually, but COVID-19 has pushed it to the wayside… That’s something I really want us to explore what can be done about that.” Perhaps the “right” people asking could make it a top priority.

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