For weeks supporters of the Land O’ Lakes pool have been collecting signatures to let Pasco County commissioners know they want the facility to stay open.
That drive is about to come to an end. On Tuesday, Aug. 9, drive supporters intend to present petitions to commissioners during their regularly scheduled board meeting in Dade City.
“I wanted to make sure the county understands how many people are affected,” said Jan Haqq, who has been organizing the drive. Haqq is also a board member for the Land O’ Lakes Lightning Swim Team. That nonprofit organization has put together a plan to take over operations of the pool to keep it open.
While Haqq is hoping to give petitions to commissioners on Tuesday, she said there’s still time for area residents to sign in favor of keeping both pools — the one in Land O’ Lakes and one in Hudson — open.
The pools, she said, are needed not only for public enjoyment, but also for the area’s swim teams. In Land O’ Lakes, the Lightning and Sunlake and Land O’ Lakes high schools all use the pool to train. The Hudson pool is used by a number of high schools, as well.
The county’s parks department proposed closing both pools earlier this year as a way to cover part of its $470,000 funding gap. The pools cost an estimated $300,000 to run annually.
Under the Lightning’s plan, the nonprofit would take over day-to-day operations of the Land O’ Lakes pool. The county would still have to pay about $30,000 a year and would be responsible for summer public swims and repairs costing more than $2,500.
No one has come forward to help offset the costs of running the pool in Hudson. The county is, however, looking at ways to increase revenue from that pool.
Rick Buckman, the county’s park department’s director, will present the Lightning’s plan to commissioners during the Aug. 9 meeting. Buckman calls the plan a “true partnership.” He intends to ask the commission for direction on how to proceed with the proposal, but doesn’t anticipate asking for outright approval during Tuesday’s meeting.
Anyone who would like to sign the petition can stop by the Land O’ Lakes pool tonight, Aug. 8, during Lightning swim practice. The pool is located on the grounds of the. The petition will be on hand between 6 and 7:30 p.m., Haqq said.
Residents are also asked to turn out to tomorrow’s commission meeting. It takes place starting at 10 a.m. at the Historic Pasco County Courthouse, 37918 Meridian Ave., in Dade City.