Letter to the Editor | Let’s build the best

Most residents know that the venerable Piedmont Community Pool had exceeded its useful life. It no longer served the needs of our community and was terribly dated. For many years the community reviewed, discussed, and debated the issue of the aged community pool. As Mayor, and with support of the City Council, I believed it was important that the community make the decision about the future of the Piedmont Community Pool. And they made that decision decisively in November 2020 and told the City Council to move forward on a new aquatic facility.  

Many thought Measure UU could not pass; I believed that if any community could support such a measure, it would be Piedmont.

The proposed pool will serve the varied aquatic and recreational needs of the Piedmont Community. As well, it will become a great venue for community and family events. The project fulfills all the requirements that the city and community asked for in a new pool facility. It will provide space for the community to gather and greatly enhanced recreational opportunities. Piedmont USD aquatics will also greatly benefit. The swimming and water polo programs are very successful and continually growing. Student-athletes in the aquatics programs deserve to have a facility that serves the programs as all other sports teams do. Along with the newly renovated Corey Reich Tennis Center, the Piedmont Center for the Arts and the new performance center at Piedmont High School, the Community Pool will be great addition that enhances our community.

The City Council moved quickly on the project. Bonds were issued at low interest rates. Plans were finalized and an outstanding architect and project management team assembled. That’s the good news. The cost environment, however, has been the bad news. Inflation is not news to any of us and it has led to increased costs. These increased costs are not cost overruns: they are the result of cumulative increases in materials and labor that have impacted projects across the state.   

This has created a funding gap of $2.1 million. This gap represents the amenities and capacity of the pool as currently proposed and those of a scaled-back version; a multi-purpose activity room is an example that would need to be cut. Our community deserves the best facility we can build:  Piedmonters have and should expect the best.   

We need the community’s help to bridge the funding gap. The Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization is actively fundraising.  Many of our neighbors have already donated. My family and I have pledged to support this effort. I hope you will consider making a donation to help build a great pool and community facility. It will serve us well for many decades to come. As with Measure UU, I’m confident that Piedmont can get this done.

Bob McBain served on city council from 2012-2018 and as mayor from 2017-2018.

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