Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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 or (727) 869-6236.

Efforts to keep Hudson pool open hit another setback 08/01/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 8:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Thousands converge in two St. Pete locations celebrating LGBT rights

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom Rockhill didn't know what to expect Saturday, but by noon people were knocking on the door of his bar Right Around the Corner in Grand Central.

    (From left to right) Emma Chalut 18, gets a rainbow sticker on her cheek from her sister Ellie, 15 both of Jacksonville before the annual St. Pete Pride parade in downtown St. Petersburg on Saturday. This year the route was changed from the Grand Central and Kenwood area to Bayshore Drive.
[EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]

  2. Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Florida Supreme Court justice, who wrote a decision that prevented lawyers from excluding jurors because of their race, has died.

    Former Florida Supreme Court Justice Parker Lee McDonald died Saturday, the court said in a statement. He was 93.
  3. CIA chief: Intel leaks on the rise amid 'worship' of leakers


    WASHINGTON — CIA director Mike Pompeo says he thinks disclosure of America's secret intelligence is on the rise, fueled partly by the "worship" of leakers like Edward Snowden.

    CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. must redouble its efforts to stop information from leaking.
  4. ABC Racing kennel advances three into semifinals


    ST. PETERSBURG — The maiden voyage by Don Burk into the $30,000 St. Petersburg Derby series — his first as the ABC Racing kennel owner — went as easy as ABC.

  5. Why Grenfell tower burned: Regulators put cost before safety


    The doorbell woke Yassin Adam just before 1 a.m. A neighbor was frantically alerting others on the fourth floor of Grenfell Tower about a fire in his apartment. "My fridge blew up," the man shouted.

    At least 79 people were killed in the fire at the Grenfell Tower apartment building in London, and the toll is expected to rise.