By Jordan Press Whig-Standard City Hall Reporter
A neglected wading pool in the central part of the city will once again be replenished.
But the decision to renovate the wading pool at Ron Lavallee Park on Fourth Avenue didn't come without staunch opposition from the mayor, who cast one of the two votes against it.
The debate focused on whether the city should spend approximately $74,000 to restore the park's wading pool while it completes a master plan for splash pads and wading pools that will guide where and what the city should build in the future.
Mayor Harvey Rosen said council should wait for the plan to ensure every district has a fair shot at a facility instead of approving items because a "well-spoken, outspoken" councillor pushes for it.
"I'm really disturbed to see parochial interests ... being pursued at the expense of overall planning for this city," Rosen said.
"Seems to me that's the way council should operate."
Councillor Leonore Foster pointed out that the city wasn't building a new facility, but revitalizing an old one.
"If this were a new splash pad ... I would fully agree with you," she said.
"But we've heard evidence that this particular facility has been neglected."
That justified spending the money, she said.
The water at the pool has been off for nearly a decade after the city decided it was too costly to keep it operating.
Councillor Steve Garrison, who represents the area and pushed for the funding, said residents in the district want the wading pool running again.
Councillor Ed Smith, the other dissenting voter, said the city should wait to see if it needs to spend the money in Lavallee park if a new splash pad and pool is to be built at the Memorial Centre site a few blocks away.
"I'm not going to support this budget item ... but we need to see the research," he said.