We, the undersigned, are expressing our continued support for the rebuild of Daniel Meyer Pool, as proposed by the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission.

A multi-purpose pool, as proposed, allows significant flexibility in programming and competition, many concurrently, such as recreation/play, swim lessons, water fitness, lap swimming, swim teams, water polo, water safety, therapy, kayaking, scuba, sports rehab, etc. These activities accommodate all age groups, from young children through senior citizens.

The 25-yard by 25-meter pool with a deep section allows competition, which only one pool in the valley currently allows, as well as recreation; the additional side pool allows shallow entry and pool usage for the young, elderly, and mobility-limited populations. A removable enclosure, like the one used at the ice rink, enables comfortable year-round usage. It is a comprehensive solution for Ashland citizens and will provide the space and flexibility for all types of aquatic activity. Many other small towns across Oregon (similar in demographics to Ashland) have fantastic aquatic facilities to serve their residents, and we are very glad and supportive of the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission’s desire to provide the same for us.

We believe re-using the existing location of Daniel Meyer makes the most sense by being cost-effective and straightforward, using existing infrastructure such as the bathhouse and parking lot, the location is already established as a pool, and the new design will not take up more room than the existing pool fence lines, nor is it intended to affect the physical structure or functionality of the existing Senior Center. In fact, its convenient location next to the Senior Center will enable senior programs to easily utilize the pool, and being in Hunter Park (tennis courts, ball fields, grassy fields and play structure, with easy bike path access) allows flexibility for families and groups that need a variety of activities in one location. The aquatic programs offered there will provide Ashland’s youth with healthy activities, as well as the life-saving skill of knowing how to swim.

Ashland Parks and Recreation has the desire and wherewithal to build and run the pool, which we have not seen in any other municipality in the valley; this leaves the valley sorely lacking in aquatics facilities, especially exacerbated by decommissioning of older pools in the area without replacement. The funding for the pool rebuild will come from a general obligation bond and will not affect any other Ashland Parks and Recreation programs or facilities; it is separately budgeted.

Michael Black has put together a plan with the commission that is realistic, workable and brings a full-fledged aquatics solution to Ashland, to be run by a municipal entity that promotes equal access for all citizens to healthful activities.

— Todd Lantry is the head coach of Ashland High School's swim team, a lifelong competitive swimmer and a certified pool operator. This guest opinion was also signed by the Southern Oregon Aquatics Committee: Ashland High School Athletic Director Karl Kempe; Phoenix High School Swim Team Head Coach Jim Heath; Sally Wiggins, chairwoman of the board of Southern Oregon Water Polo; Natalie Del Carlo and Cole Harding, Southern Oregon Water Polo coaches; Medford Water Polo Head Coach Serena Hoke; the board of Rogue Valley Masters Swim Team; Rogue Sharks Swim Team Head Coach Tom Higgins; and Jocelyn Sanford, USA Water Polo national team member 1985-'91, 16-year water polo coach, certified pool operator, and a physical therapist.