Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A fat target - Carbondale Park District Pool

In an area with so many wasteful and mismanaged public sector organizations the Carbondale Park District really stands out. They burn through a huge amount of money every year, have first class everything on the tax payer's money, have a huge expensive golf course that is a sink hole of red ink, public fighting between the board members, bad budgets and it goes on and on.

I got a survey about the new pool from the Pork District the other day. The survey is so poorly done, it is hard to know where to begin. They don't say any of the facts in their mailer, for example they don't tell you the plan that was picked from the pool companies would cost $6M if there weren't over runs and costs didn't go up. The also know they will lose somewhere around $300k to $500k per year on the pool after the first few years, when the maintenance needs to kick in. Not only don't they have the money to build it, but they will lose money each year, forever!

Then they go on and ask who should run it? If a pool is built, everyone with half a brain would choose anyone but the Carbondale Pork District!

I have been planning to write about this in detail, but just to point out the obvious, of the 26,000 people the Carbondale Park District has in the district, around 20,000 of them have free access to the pools on the SIUC campus. In fact, if you subtract the students Carbondale area (houses served by CCHS, Carbondale, Unity Point and Giant City schools) has a population of around 12,000, excluding students from SIUC.

How about instead of building a pool, instead we find the 6,000 people who can't use the REC center and buy them memberships for life? We find 50 kids per year and give them $10,000 college scholarships?

If they want to build a $2M watering hole that hosts a summer swim team and stuff like that I'm likely for it, assuming you can find some trustworthy organization to run it. Dressing room of cinder block walls and minimal flair it would be about what we can afford. A chance in heck it wasn't going to turn into a money pit would be even better.

Bad survey, bad organization, bad history. Please join me in shouting down the idiots at the Pork District. Clearly they are nice people without a clue and piss poor performance.

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