Fate of the Hawthorne Park pool is undecided

Now that the Medford pool measure has failed, I see that the city still plans to go ahead with making improvements to Hawthorne Park. My question is, what are they going to do with the old Hawthorne swimming pool, changing rooms and other things associated with the pool? Are they going to tear that all out and haul it away or will it be left there in the middle of the redesigned park?

— Robert L., Medford

The old pool and changing rooms are in pretty bad shape, Robert. No final decision has been made by city officials, but the bulldozers will likely tear everything out when the park is remodeled.

The plans for Hawthorne called for moving the pool to another location when the remodeling took place. Of course, that was before voters on Nov. 6 shot down a $14.5 million levy to build two new pools, one at Hawthorne and one next to Jackson Elementary School.

City officials have pretty much given up on the idea of sinking more money into the old pool, which was leaking 30,000 gallons a day before it was closed.

They haven't necessarily given up on the idea of asking voters at a later date to approve another levy, possibly for a lesser amount.

City Councilor Al Densmore recently said he would be open to discussing a scaled-back levy that would provide enough money for one pool.

Mayor Gary Wheeler said he was surprised at residents' reactions to the pool levy, with one man telling him that he doesn't want a municipal pool because he has one in his backyard.

"I was gob-smacked," he said.

Wheeler said the city needs to find a way to provide a pool for local kids.

Councilor Chris Corcoran

Councilor Chris Corcoran said he encountered one voter who was surprised to learn the levy would have added only $40 onto his annual property tax bill.

"He told me, 'Why didn't you explain that?' " Corcoran said.

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