Shannon Lukens: Build the pool

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This letter is to encourage the Steamboat Springs City Council, along with the Steamboat Springs Health and Recreation Association, to move forward with plans to build a community recreation center. The issue was on the front page of the June 29 Steamboat Today.

Our community desperately needs, and is certainly worthy of expanding the current facility. We need an improved rec center that includes a new, indoor swimming pool. The communities of Durango and Aspen recently built incredible community recreation centers. Durango has an indoor track, racquetball courts, a climbing wall, a gym with basketball courts and a fitness area. It also has an 11-lane, 25-meter competitive pool with high and low dive, along with leisure pools for the kids that include a huge water slide, lazy river and children's area. Aspen's situation is similar with a six-lane competitive pool, plus a children's pool with slide and lazy river. Silverthorne, Breckenridge, and Rangely all have fantastic rec centers. Glenwood Springs has even jumped on the bandwagon and built a new rec center for their community. Steamboat needs to do the same.

An indoor swimming pool could be used year-round by people of all ages. Right now, our swim team, with 100 swimmers strong, must endure all kinds of weather on deck. Our swim meet last month was held in the snow and freezing temperatures. An indoor pool would alleviate those training issues. We also could more easily host swim meets throughout the season and possibly expand into a year-round competitive team. The USASwimming.org Web site touts the benefits, physically as well as financially to a community. One article by Jane Stevenson and Neil Foley talks of discipline, skill development opportunities, pride in accomplishment, sportsmanship. Community concern over drugs and crime can be eased with attractive activities for youth. Academic performance is enhanced by sports.

Year-round activities at a pool could be expanded. Imagine the benefits of an indoor running track. We also could use better basketball facilities, as the kids in our community are only allowed an hour to practice, twice a week in the spring, for the spring basketball league.

Please better support our community, and especially the children of Steamboat Springs, by further exploring an improved rec center and especially an indoor pool. Make Steamboat even more of a world-class resort. Let's get some swimmers on the Olympic athlete tally.

Shannon Lukens

Steamboat Springs

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