Pool getting deeper

by YES! Staff

Believe it or not, we at YES! Weekly cannot tell the future. We have no special powers of divination, no crystal ball tucked away in the office, no eerie connection to seers or shamans or soothsayers.

But our noses work just fine. That’s how we knew that the ballpark in Winston- Salem would never make it to its initial projected opening date of April 2009: We just drove by the job site and took a whiff. Anybody with even the most remote knowledge of construction could see that the dormant site could never yield a finished ballpark in the time allotted.

Thus, were unsurprised when the Winston-Salem Dash had to make other plans while Billy Prim played out the final stages of his hustle.

We’re catching a similar scent emanating from Greensboro’s proposed natatorium — sorry, aquatic center — for which $12 million was earmarked from a parks and rec bond referendum that passed in 2008.

We were against the bond, not just for reasons of fiscal conservatism but because we felt that the proposed facility was not the best use of public funds. Unlike a playground or park, or even a water park, this natatorium is designed with regional swim meets in mind, which affect just a tiny percentage of the city.

We also noted that a natatorium bond was rejected by voters twice before it passed, couched in a general parks and rec bond of the type that generally does well with the Greensboro electorate. Call it the fast shuffle. Call it a Trojan horse. Call it a well-executed political maneuver.

We felt vindicated when the center was taken away from the Parks & Recreation Commission and placed under the purview of the Greensboro Coliseum staff, another piece of bureaucratic sleight of hand.

Now we can say something else about the natatorium:

It’s already over budget.

You might think that $12 million would be enough to build a fine swimming pool. But the News & Record reported last week that Assistant City Manager Denise Turner named the lowest bid for the aquatic center at $19 million, or 95 percent of the 2008 parks and rec bond money, which was also supposed to go to park repair, the Downtown Greenway and renovations to War Memorial Stadium that were promised when the new ballpark was approved by referendum.

And while we can’t quite see the future, we have a couple more predictions for you: For one, we see this natatorium up and running before bids are accepted for the renovation of War Memorial. We also see this happening way before the half-million dollar Greensboro skate park, which was approved by voter referendum and bonded in 2006.

YES! Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion in our publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be a vital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed represent a consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through much deliberation and consideration