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    Tight budget forces North Jeffco to cut hours at Meyers Pool

    By Jeff Francis
    Sentinel and Transcript Newspapers

       A major curtailing in the hours of operation at Meyers Pool, 7900 Carr Drive, has the pool's regular customers upset. Representatives for the North Jeffco Park and Recreation District said the budget-slashing measure is regrettable but necessary.

    The North Jeffco board of directors changed the Meyers Pool hours from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, to 5:30 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. The pool has completely dropped its weekend hours. The pool's regulars said the new schedule prevents many of them from using the district's last pool for serious adult swimmers.

    "Nothing ever seems to be for the adults, just the children," said Mary Edwards, a Meyers customer, of the new water-park-themed swimming area at the Apex Center, 13150 W. 72nd Ave. "Well, the children don't pay the mill levies."

    Kevin Sage, who coaches divers at Meyers, said his hours for coaching have been cut dramatically.

    "I think Meyers is a perfectly suited facility for aquatics," Sage said. "I absolutely love Meyers Pool. I'd really like to see the place stay open."

    According to North Jeffco Board President Bob West, the decision to lessen the Meyers hours was a financial one.

    "There wasn't enough usage of the pool during the day," West said. "We were averaging less than 10 people during that six-hour span."

    West acknowledged that Meyers Pool is a casualty of the voter defeat of the district's May tax proposal. The sharply defeated initiative asked voters to increase the annual mill levy by one mill and de-TABOR the revenue.

    "The budget was in such shape that we had to do something," West said. "This was a pretty significant cut, and it saved us a lot. We estimate it will save $100,000 a year."

    West said he and the board members expected outcry over the measure.

    "We've heard all the complaints you can imagine," West said. "We expected it. You're only going to hear from the people affected."

    Sage and Edwards suggested the district should raise user fees at Meyers. They said most swimmers would be willing to pay higher fees to ensure the pool was open when they wanted to use it. West said it still wouldn't work.

    "For the few people who are using it, and the money we're saving, does it make any sense at all?" West asked. "You can't raise the fees that much."

    West said the district board does not plan to reverse its decision. Edwards said she cannot continue to use Meyers.

    "I may be going to Wheat Ridge (recreation center)," she said. "If they can guarantee I can swim laps, I'm ready to write out my check for a yearly pass."

    Published Aug. 1, 2002
    E-mail Jeff Francis

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