Few recreational activities beat a public swimming pool for good, clean fun. But pools are much more than that: For one thing, they are life savers. Where public pools are available, fewer young people are tempted to go swimming in ponds, creeks and rivers.
During the past few years, however, several Northern Panhandle and East Ohio municipalities have either closed pools or come close to doing so. Tight local government budgets for both maintenance and operation of pools are one challenge.
Some communities have saved their pools through creativity by local residents. Ways of raising money ranging from season ticket drives to special events have been devised.
Now it is Steubenville-area residents' turn to save their pool. City officials announced earlier this year they do not have enough money to operate the Belleview pool this summer.
Steubenville Councilman Kenny Davis has taken the lead in a campaign to raise enough money to operate the pool for three months this summer. A Recreation Committee meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss ways of raising the $40,000 needed to operate the pool during June, July and August.
Davis said some ideas for obtaining the money already have been suggested. An oil and gas company has agreed to provide support for a fundraising event, he noted.
Forty thousand dollars is a lot of money - but it is not beyond the reach of a dedicated group. Again, similar campaigns have been successful in other area communities.
The first step is for those interested in having the pool open this summer to attend the Tuesday meeting and devise a plan to raise the money. Time is very short, so the campaign needs to get under way soon.
In fact, as Davis noted, there is only "an outside chance" the project can bear fruit for this summer. We disagree. Steubenville area residents have a way of accomplishing good things when they become aware of important needs. This certainly is one. The Belleview pool can be open this summer - if the community makes it a priority.