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The Daily Tar Heel

TaxWatch Questions New Pool

In a letter he sent to the mayor Tuesday, John Ryan, a member of TaxWatch, questioned the need for new pools. Instead, he suggested using Chapel Hill buses to shuttle people to Triangle Sportsplex in Hillsborough.

"We want to put those buses to work," Ryan said later. "It's a perfect match."

He said a new pool is unnecessary "if people aren't willing to use the buses to ride 20 minutes to it."

Waldorf said she would listen to Ryan's suggestions.

"I don't know if it's been tried," she said. "I think we ought to receive his suggestions with a very open mind and see what we can do with them."

Ryan also said a new pool is unnecessary because people are not using the Sportsplex.

"It's a gorgeous facility and it's empty," he said. "That seems a shame."

Waldorf did not comment on how much the Sportsplex is used.

"I don't know if that's a valid point," she said. "I haven't looked at any of the usage rates."

Citing the bond passed by voters in 1996, Waldorf said the town needs another pool. Only $2 million for a pool remains from the bond, and the town has turned to the Orange County Board of Commissioners for more money.

"I think the Town Council is working with the commissioners on the bond issue to see if they can make provisions for the pool," Waldorf said.

If the commissioners refuse, then Ryan's suggestions could be a next step, she added.

Ryan said he thinks town officials will handle the building of a new pool like the commissioners handled the Sportsplex.

"The Orange County Commissioners were crazy," he said.

"They said we needed a pool to keep the poor kids out of the Eno River and drowning."

Ryan said the commissioners added more facilities to the original plan, causing costs to rise, and he is worried the same thing could happen in Chapel Hill.

"The last figure I saw was $12 million, and that's after it started out at $2 million," Ryan said.

"It seems to me the planners of town are not using imagination to spend people's money wisely."

Ryan said he has not talked to Chapel Hill's transit authorities but that he hopes the mayor or Chapel Hill Town Council will listen to his suggestions.

He said he is eager to work constructively with town officials.

"If a lot (of people) sign up for a bus, then maybe we do need a pool in Chapel Hill," Ryan said.

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"If not, then it was a dumb idea in the first place."

The City Editor can be reached


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