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Palm Coast Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015 4 years ago

LETTERS: Arguments for the Belle Terre pool, plus: Why didn't the City Council have more time to vote?

Your neighbors, on what matters to the community.

Keep Belle Terre pool open; it has everything other gyms don't

Dear Editor:

The article by Douglas Courtney on Page 6 of the Palm Coast Observer pertaining to the possible closing of Belle Terre Swim and Racquet club was right on the money.

As a member since 1999, I would like the facility to remain open. It has everything other gyms don't have. It has newly renovated tennis courts, a heated pool, sauna and a complete gym, etc.

I hope that the people of Palm Coast will want to join and help to keep it open when they read his article.

Lawrence C. Penna

Palm Coast


Belle Terre pool should be a higher priority for Flagler Schools

Dear Editor:

I read with some amazement the statements of School Board Chairwoman Colleen Conklin and Superintendent Jacob Oliva on what was going on at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club. Let’s review the actions they have taken since taking over the responsibility of the facility.

1. They eliminated the positions of the two most popular and knowledgeable instructors without warning. When they left, they took quite a few students with them.

2. They moved the maintenance of the facility and pool to a centralized group and moved the most knowledgeable person away from Belle Terre. The tennis courts have not been blown off in three months or so.

3. They have eliminated the lifeguards and anyone who had a genuine interest in the facility.

4. When the main pool pump burned up, no spare was available, and the pool closed for a week or so. Then the summer rains came, and the pump room flooded. This below-ground area still does not have a battery-backed-up sump pump with appropriate alarm. This prompted the closing of the pool for two weeks, losing two weeks of revenue and the associated repair costs.

5. No one is left to assure that people sign in or collect the fees due. All of the employees seem to be afraid for their jobs.

6. Last, no one has asked for additional contributions to keep the facilities open. It is the only full-feature adult/school facility in Flagler County. I, for one, would contribute additional funding if it would keep the facility in better shape.

Superintendent Oliva indicated in the last School Board meeting that he was focused on K-12, and Adult Education was not a priority of his.

I guess a drowning person asking for help should expect an anchor for his plea. It is really a shame for me to watch the only full facility be run down the way it is.

Gerald and Mary Lou DeVane

Palm Coast


City Council was put in an unfair position to vote yes

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 4, the Palm Coast City Council voted unanimously to use federal money intended to help low-income seniors and other residents fix up their homes to fund a bike path. Only Councilman Steve Nobile made any real objection to the proposal. In the end, even Mr. Nobile had to relent, as the mayor and other councilmen began making the claim that they were building the bike path to save lives.

But no one ever advocated for not building the bike path. There is enough money in the budget to build the bike path without taking money away from poor seniors. We have more than enough surplus in next year’s budget that can be used for the bike path. We can do both easily.

In any case, here is one thing that bothers me about the vote. Essentially the City Council members were backed into a corner and made to cast a “yes” vote or lose the money entirely. Basically, the vote on this proposal, which has been three years in the making, occurred a little over one week before the program deadline. Even if the council members wanted to make changes, they could not, due to the rules for the program that require time for public hearings, which require they advertise to the public weeks in advance. 

Essentially, they were forced to vote yes or lose the money entirely. So, rather than bring this proposal to the public with enough time to have it debated publicly and changes made, they chose to wait until the deadline to put the issue on the agenda. That essentially forced a yes vote. That is not how our representative government should conduct business. What is the purpose of a City Council if they don't have a real choice?

CarMichael McMillan

Palm Coast


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