Sunday, June 24, 2018
News Roundup

Efforts to keep Hudson pool open hit another setback

The club swim team that stepped up this spring to save an imperiled county swimming pool in Hudson is pulling out of the proposed solution because it could not find enough swimmers to field a team in that area.

The Land O'Lakes Lightning will close its fledgling team at Veterans Memorial Park on Aug. 17. It had offered to take over operations at the Hudson pool — similar to an arrangement at the Land O'Lakes Recreation Complex — but club president Brett Ewald said the team only attracted 20 swimmers. That's far short of the more than 100 needed to cover operations costs.

"It wasn't like, 'Man, we just missed it,' " he said. "We were just way far off the goal we needed to hit."

The move is a setback for the Veterans Park pool, but it isn't a death blow. Parks officials are setting up a meeting with high school swim coaches that use the pool and representatives from the YMCA and Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

"I'm still hoping that something will materialize" to keep the pool open, said county parks director Rick Buckman.

Ewald said the team would consider possible solutions like joining those groups to pay for operations. Covering only a portion of the costs would mean the Lightning could get by with a smaller team.

"We're not turning our back and saying we're gone," he said. "I'd be happy to see how we could be part of (a potential plan)."

Without an agreement, county commissioners would have to come up with roughly $100,000 to keep the pool open next summer. That's what commissioners agreed to last year on a 3-2 vote. The three commissioners who live in West Pasco supported the money.

As part of the budget cuts in recent years, the county has closed the Grove Park pool in New Port Richey and the Hercules Aquatic Center in Zephyrhills. New Port Richey officials recently outlined a plan to close the pools at the city's recreation center from September until late May. That plan must still be approved by the City Council.

The proposed county budget for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1 includes enough money for lifeguards for the summer swim program at the pools in Hudson and Land O'Lakes. But it eliminates money for an aquatics supervisor, pool chemicals and other maintenance costs for the Hudson pool.

Ewald said nearly all of the people who joined the team are in high school and will swim with their school teams once classes start later this month.

He didn't expect that so few families in Hudson would be willing to pay the $250-per-summer fee to join the Lightning. Plus, the team was starting from scratch in Hudson while it has been established for years in Land O'Lakes.

"When it came down to it, (the swimmers) weren't there," he said. "It's a very difficult thing to go to a community and say, 'You all have to competitively swim or else we're going to close your pool.' "

Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.

Comments
Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

Father dead, suspect in custody after hit-and-run driver plows into New Tampa family on bike ride

A Tampa man is dead and his 3-year-old son is in serious condition after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as they went on a family bike ride Sunday afternoon.A male suspect is in custody and being interviewed by police but his name has not yet be...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

A local hockey draftee? Mitchell grad Nathan Smith is just that

TAMPA — Every year during draft season, players from the Tampa Bay area are selected in the NFL, MLB and even NBA drafts.But NHL?Sure enough, in the third round of Saturday's NHL draft, the Jets selected Nathan Smith, a forward who was born in ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

Office building demolition at Midtown Tampa site proves tougher than expected

TAMPA ó Stripped to the girders, the old Bromley office building looked about as substantial as fish bones on a dinner plate.But the 5-story structure proved Sunday it still had a surprising amount of fight left in it.A demolition team had planned to...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays season turning into good one

Rays season turning into good one

ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays are not the best team in baseball. They are not going to win the World Series this year. Heck, they probably won't even make the playoffs.But I tell you what. This team is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.And ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

Rays beat Yankees in 12 innings on Jake Bauers homer

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays first baseman Jake Bauers sat at his locker after Sunday afternoon's 7-6, 12-inning win over the Yankees and thumbed through his text messages. There was no way he could get through them all. That's what happens when ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

Rays journal: Yarbrough comes through, Venters to DL, support for Ramos

ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover firs...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

Suspect dead, 2 injured in St. Petersburg home invasion-turned-shooting

ST. PETERSBURGSuspect dead, 2 injured in home invasion, shootingThree people forced their way into a St. Petersburg house before dawn Sunday before gunfire broke out, killing a suspect and injuring two residents, police said.About 5:30 a.m., the peop...
Updated: 4 hours ago
A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

A jogger accidentally crossed into the US from Canada and was detained for two weeks

The coast of White Rock, British Columbia, in western Canada looks to be an ideal place for a run, with its sweeping views of the Semiahmoo Bay to the west and scores of waterfront homes and seafood restaurants to the east. Thatís what 19-year-old Ce...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

Head-on crash kills Pasco teenager, injures three

NEW PORT RICHEY ó A 19-year-old driver died in a three-car crash on Moon Lake Road on Saturday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.Jillian Faith Hitt, 19 and of New Port Richey, was driving north on the road in a 2008 Hyundai Accent, weari...
Updated: 9 hours ago
President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

President Trumpís trade war threatens the US newspaper industry

STERLING, Ill. - As a longtime editor of small-town newspapers, Jeff Rogers has seen his industry face the collapse of print advertising, the rise of the internet and more. Today, his 18 employees work in a newsroom here that puts out two daily newsp...
Updated: 9 hours ago