The Whitehall Ledger - Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

By Jack H. Smith
Whitehall Ledger 

Pool to open next month


File Photo

The Whitehall Pool is a popular spot for kids in the summer.

The Whitehall Community Pool will open after all in 2020.

Near the conclusion of Monday night's council meeting, the governing body approved a motion from council member Shawn Hoagland to use the $4,622.80 remaining in the pool funding from the 2019-20 fiscal year budget to open the pool starting July 7. The vote comes after the announcement at the May Council meeting that the pool would be closed for the season because of COVID-19 phase opening timelines and getting the proper training for staff.

Town Clerk/Treasurer Summer Fellows said Tuesday morning that $28,027.20 of the 19-20 pool budget of $32,2650.20 has been spent and also discussed the Council decision in May to spend $12,000 of the pool budget for the fiscal year starting in July for a dump truck for public works. She said the town has yet to make a purchase on a truck and could not adopt a motion Monday on the issue because it was not on the agenda.

Further pool budget issues will be discussed at a budget workshop scheduled for June 23 and at future council meetings.

The idea of private fundraising for the pool was also discussed at the meeting.

Hoagland said it is loud and clear that residents want the pool, but they need to utilize public and private funds to cover the shortfall every year. He added it is not just a COVID-19 issue with opening the pool it is also a budgetary hit for the town.

Fellows said last year the pool was closed just about as many days it was open and brought in $12,000.

In a letter to the editor in this week's Whitehall Ledger, Bill and Tamara Pullman discussed fundraising for the pool. Bill and Tamara, along with Terry and Wendy Wisner have donated $1,000. Ruth Lott and John and Sally Kreis have each donated $500.

Whitehall resident and JLDC Manager Alison Richardson said she would help any way she can with fundraising and Mayor Mary Janacaro Hensleigh also encouraged fundraising ideas.

Whitehall Chamber Board Member Kristi Wilson said opening the pool is very important to the mental health in the community.

"I think it is an important part of our community and should open," she said.

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Resident Pod Moriarty told the Council it would be irresponsible to close the doors on the pool for the year, it is the town's responsibility to keep it open, especially since kids are spending too much time lately at home.

Pool Manager Allissa Christensen told the governing body she does not feel they should be doing swim lessons in 2020 and discussed how they would track occupancy as well as maintaining social distancing.

Council member Roy McBride said he has received several calls about the pool from town residents .

Whitehall Librarian Jeannie Ferriss said the pool makes a significant impact on the lives of the kids in town. She said after the summer reading program in the morning the pool closure would have kids wandering the streets with nothing to do.


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