Pooling Of Resources


As Lexington City Council reviews a proposal to extend its contract with the local YMCA for the operation of the city’s outdoor swimming pool, consideration should be given to points that have been made by long-time users of the facility. These swimming advocates want to bring back weekday morning lap swims and would like to see a single price of admission for the outdoor pool and the adjacent but separately-owned-and-operated indoor “bubble” pool.

Both of these offerings were eliminated when the YMCA took over management of the city’s outdoor pool prior to the 2018 summer season. Both arrangements were in place previously when the two pools were managed by Leslie Ayers, who continues to manage the indoor pool, now known as the Rockbridge Aquatics Center, on behalf of Friends of Rockbridge Swimming, a nonprofit that owns and operates the pool.

When former Lexington City Manager Noah Simon pitched the idea of turning over management of the outdoor pool to the YMCA, he presented the proposal as being “revenue neutral.” We’re not sure that has turned out to be the case. Of course, it may be unrealistic to expect the YMCA to do as much as Ayers did when she managed both pools. When resources are pooled, so to speak, more can be done with less.

What we hope can be accomplished, moving forward, is to have the YMCA and FOR Swimming work together to make both facilities operate as economically efficiently as possible. It seems to us that these side-by-side facilities should share resources – personnel and supplies – to the benefit of all local swimming patrons.

Such an arrangement might be more feasible under a unified management. In that case, maybe FOR Swimming would be in a better position than the YMCA to manage both pools. Certainly the city could put out a request for proposals before extending the YMCA’s contract. We’re not questioning the YMCA’s capability of managing the pool, or the job it has done the past two summers. We just think that unified management of both facilities makes the most sense.

With Ayers at the helm, single management of both swimming pools worked well for 11 years. Users of both facilities had the best of both worlds, for a single price. We urge all involved to strive for what’s best for the community. Pooling of resources seems to be the way to go.

The News-Gazette

The News-Gazette Corp.
P.O. Box 1153
Lexington, VA 24450
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