DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) – The City of Diboll has joined a growing list of cities across the country closing their municipal pool as a way to help ease the strain on their budgets.
For some Diboll residents, a closed city pool means facing another summer of sweltering hot temperatures without the relief a city pool can provide.
The idea is too much for Odyessa Bray. "I've been here 45 years, and I swam in this pool all my life. I need the pool now. I enjoy swimming, and the kids enjoy swimming. I love coming out seeing the kids enjoying themselves."
Bray's hopes so far have gone unfulfilled. KTRE was contacted about their concerns. When we met, local residents were carrying signs with messages that they hoped would reach the eyes and hearts of city leaders.
"We ain't got money for gas to go other places to go get wet," said Shaterra Swift.
"I feel sad because everybody want to get up in the pool, and they won't please open the pool," added Sarah Boston.
2009 was the last time the pool was open. City officials said it would cost an estimated $100,000 for maintenance and to fix a leak in the pool They said the city just doesn't have the money.
"They said that they didn't have funding for the pool this year. They didn't put it in the budget, but they budgeted for the golf, Diboll golf course and community center," said Diboll resident Cynthia Nash.
So, while city leaders recognize the value of their citizens having a city pool, their decision to keep the pool closed again this summer will have to stand. "It saddens me because this is for the youth. And every summer, you know, they go to school every day of the year, but in the summer, they need something to do," said Nash.
"Please help us save the pool," said Zamiah Gipson.
With the end of July fast approaching, and the city still under tight budget constraints, this little girl's plea will likely have to wait until next year.
Hard times have not always meant cutbacks. According to published reports, back in the 20th century more than 1,000 municipal pools were built in the U-S as public works projects during the Great Depression. Nowadays, city governments see aging municipal pools as financial drains.
Diboll city officials said there are no plans yet for the pool for next year.