Keep swimming

Payette pool patron Shannon Serena addresses the Payette City Council on Feb. 3. Serena defended keeping the pool open as a resource for seniors, as well as suggesting ways to advertise it better.

PAYETTE - A frequent topic on the Payette City Council’s agenda is the discussion of whether to continue funding the city’s public swimming pools. As the indoor pool is open year round, the Council frequently cites that it operates at a loss to the city. To defend this loss, patron Shannon Serena addressed the Council at its Feb. 3 meeting.

“For me, the physical aspects … there’s so many. We all have different reasons for going.” Serena has two artificial hips, she said. She also said swimming at the pool helped bring her vitality back after she suffered a heart attack. “It’s wonderful for me.”

She noted that with a high number of seniors living in the area, it’s one more place they can go to get needed exercise.

“It’s better to have a healthy older population than an unhealthy older population,” she said, noting how easily seniors can become reclusive.

Serena also suggested that pool staff work to better engage the community, like by updating the pool’s Facebook page for clarity, as well as ease of use. 

“I know it’s not that hard, if you have computer experience,” she said.

Serena also made suggestions on how to advertise the pool further.

“Why couldn’t we use the pink strip of our water bill to advertise the pool?” she suggested.

Serena also suggested that local schools make use of the pool, as well as the local Boys & Girls Clubs. She also noted the availability of swimming lessons there could benefit users now and later, saying those kids could one day be lifeguards.

To mitigate costs and provide for energy efficiency upgrades, Serena suggested accepting the “silver sneakers” program despite the challenging paperwork involved.

“It’s on most of our Medicare supplement plans,” she said.

Councilor Ray Wickersham responded by saying, “Every council has struggled with the pool…” but said he appreciated Serena’s comments.

Councilor Daniel Lopez said the city is pursuing solar panels for the pool, but noted that no timetable available.

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