Loyatlon Pool Fringe

More on the Loyalton Pool 022410

The discussion over the Loyalton City Pool has been growing since it closed several years ago. Echoing as though in the steel shelter of the pool, the voices had grown to a bedlam. The energy produced was too much to simply stop, or rather, to suddenly die out with the lack of a second to a motion at the Board. As a result, the talk continues.

There are many reasons to protest that the community has given up too soon. What about gate fees? What about recalculating the debt load? What if the voters would have approved it, we’d have a pool now.

Here is what we believe are the facts:

The Friends of the Loyalton City Pool have been amazing in their ability to ferret out funding and garner support. The heat and light they’ve generated has come from tireless work and unquenchable optimism. But, their mule is too small, and the load is too large.

The pool couldn’t stay open seven years ago, when the economy was better, and when there were more young people in the county. True, it closed because some traditional friends redirected support, but they did so because the economy was tanking and young families were moving away. Those are two facts, one economic and one social, which can be demonstrated empirically, meaning, with numbers. We call Loyalton a "city" but a city has more than 50,000 residents. Loyalton is a village, or at best, a town. There are "ghost towns" with more residents than Loyalton.

The Friends’ plan intended to broaden the community and increase the revenue by causing voters and swimmers in Sierraville, Calpine, and the scattered people between to invest yearly in the pool through taxes. If they paid a tax, they would be more likely to actually use the pool, driving up gate revenues.

There is a third thing that has happened since the pool closed, which increases the load on the donkey: regulation and liability. If the community could hire local contractors and use community labor, it would be possible to build a nice little outdoor pool for relative pennies. The truth is, with interest, insurance, and the fees and costs associated with doing anything today, the cost must certainly be double. The horrendous cost of regulation is reflected in dollars that add nothing to the project, not one tile nor dab of concrete, but that go to support the regulators and the experts they spawn to swarm over our projects. (Hi, Ray.) We aren’t angry and bitter at our government, though, because we know all this crap is for our own good.

Those concrete features, decreasing population, plummeting economy, and increasing parasitism by government and their various camp followers, doom the Loyalton City Pool.

But, wait, why not put it to the voters? Several reasons.

First, the other communities are very clearly not going to support the tax. We don’t need to ask, they won’t. People in Sierraville and Calpine already have nice pools available, which are tax free. Sierraville is about to be razed as a town by ground water regulators. If its existence depended on its ability to suddenly produce a sewer system, the little town would swiftly become a distal suburb of Truckee, peopled with well off newcomers who will be only vaguely aware Loyalton is even there. Truckee has a year round 45’X75’ pool heated to 83 degrees. See Here.

Calpine may, or may not, have a water crisis, depending what version you believe, but it is clear that money is going to be spent there. There is a dandy summer pool in Portola, twenty five minutes away, and it’s near a bank and three grocery stores and a health food store, ( and a lumber yard, a Les Schwab, several mechanics, a medical/dental clinic, full service auto parts, and more!).

Why should Loyalton alienate those communities further by asking for money when the voters will resent the imposition?

The next good reason is that is will waste money. Such a referendum isn’t free. It would have cost to everyone, and the Friends most of all. To insist that it is good economy to force a vote when the outcome is a foregone conclusion, is either foolish or deceitful.


The final very good reason is that such a vote will kill the pool forever. Forcing a negative reaction will fix in the minds of voters outside Loyalton that they don’t support the pool. The fact is, many of us in the outer valley do support a pool in Loyalton, but not such a big project, and not now. If the economy were better and the numbers were a little more optimistic, if the project were a little more trim, many people would support it. There really is some loyalty to Loyalton in the Valley, as long as it isn’t strained. We’re cousins, but don’t push the invitation.

In our view, Loyalton can have a swimming pool, but not the current location. The best, highest use for the current pool is to fill it with potting soil and grow tomatoes (it’s less than 1000 yards from a school, so it can’t be used to grow medical cannabis; what a shame). If the City had the money to fix the current pool, they’d have the money to build a better one, something cheaper to run.

And, that’s our advice to the Friends of Loyalton Pool: harness your mule to something it can pull.

Here’s a suggestion: Sierra Pacific Industries Loyalton Mill site has been a blight since the they hauled the sawmill away. The "business park" is a vacant mess, the mill property has haz mat considerations according to some local old timers. When the cogen plant closed down, local political and community leaders got together and found fuel, pestered and embarrassed Sierra Pacific Power, and generally did everything possible to support the plant, and SPI responded without a word of thanks, and what could be considered resentment that they have to operate the plant again.

We think it’s time for SPI to once again become a good neighbor. They reportedly intend to develop part of the property for houses. They should donate some land for a modest, outdoor pool and help out building or even heating it. This editor doubts SPI is in the community for the long haul, and if there were even an outside chance of selling the property, they would, but there isn’t. We might be wrong.

One way SPI could prove us wrong is to donate land for a pool- not at the business park, since the pool, like a school, is infested with children and the 1000 foot restriction for cannabis grows would apply. If the community could shake it’s 100 year slumber and suddenly join the 21st century, there is money to be made in cannabis; the pool will always cost money.

Loyalton should get its swimming pool someday. The Friends must be discouraged now, but their struggle has given them experience; there is probably more local knowledge on swimming pools in Loyalton than any other cow town in the state. We encourage the Friends to rest, regroup, re-conceive, and return. The Prospect would support a modest, doable pool in Loyalton, our only incorporated city. We think a lot of people would.

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