When the Belleview Park pool opens for the summer, it will be a testament to a community that cares about its assets.
When the city's budget-tightening measures to deal with shortfalls were potentially poised to claim the pool, a fixture of summer for youth and adults for generations, volunteer organizations stepped up.
When the pool opens, the city, its citizens and the pool regulars owe a debt of gratitude to the LaBelle Neighbors Who Care and the Community for Youth Development. Those groups will operate the pool this summer and will continue to work to keep the pool going in coming years.
It's a great concept for the city because of the potential for non-profit groups to obtain grants and private and corporate assistance.
It's a great concept for citizens because the city thus keeps a recreational asset going, and a community pool is the kind of amenity it's easy to cut when the going gets tough. Losing the Belleview pool would have been the death knell for summer recreation beyond stick-and-ball sports in the city.
We also will note the efforts on Pleasant Heights to restore Murphy Field/Rotary Park to good condition by a neighboring church, the First Baptist Church on Plum Street, and the efforts by volunteer groups over the years to keep North End Field viable. Neighborhoods have often worked to maintain playgrounds and small neighborhood parks, too.
In a city that is struggling to keep its fire department and to find ways to keep enough police on patrol, recreation can be viewed by some as an extra cost that can be eliminated. But a good park system can keep youth off the streets and out of the hands of the police, if properly run and properly supervised.
We would hope the community at large supports the groups that are making up for the city's recreation shortfall and everyone will do their part to help fund and maintain the pool, and other parks, in the future.