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Natchez-Adams pool to reopen this week without YMCA management
from Staff Reports - NEWS
May 21, 2019 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. – The community pool will open Thursday as planned for the summer despite the YMCA pulling out last week to manage it, Natchez-Adams County officials said Monday.
They balked at renewing a contract that expired in March, so the suburban Jackson-based YMCA announced last week it won’t manage the publicly owned pool that opened for the first time a year ago.
However, Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission Chairman Jimmy Ware told county supervisors Monday the pool will be ready for adult swimmers Thursday evening and for longer daytime hours for all this weekend. Pool preparations and the hiring of lifeguards are being done without the Y, he said. “We’ve got the same staff from last year,” Ware said.
This comes as questions and concerns linger about how Natchez and Adams County is to operate and improve the city-county’s consolidated, jointly funded recreation program.
“We’re going to keep (the pool) rolling, but we’ve got other parts of recreation that need to be addressed,” said county Board of Supervisors President Calvin Butler.
Butler noted city and county officials have been wanting more details on the YMCA’s plans for the community’s sports offerings, ballfields and parks using taxpayers’ dollars given to the private organization. However, they’ve been unsuccessful in recent months scheduling a joint meeting with YMCA officials to discuss this.
The city and county boards have been paying the YMCA $100,000 a year. The Natchez-Adams County Recreation Commission is the actual agency that contracts the Y to run the pool and other rec programs. However, since the contract expired in March, the nine-member commission has not even had enough members attending its meetings to take a vote for renewing the contract.
“That’s a big part of the situation,” said county Supervisor David Carter, pointing to the Recreation Commission’s lack of a quorum and the YMCA opting out of running the pool. “If five of nine are not even showing up two months in a row that makes the board ineffective.”
The Recreation Commission’s members are appointed by Adams County supervisors and the Natchez Board of Aldermen.
The commission is also slow in getting bills paid. It’s supposed to send bill invoices to the county and city boards on a timely basis, but payments approved by county supervisors Monday were the first submitted by the commission since February. “Hopefully, they will speed that up,” said county Administrator Joe Murray.
Faye Minor, who has been the local YMCA program director in recent months, said the pool will be “up and running” for the summer. She also stressed that the Y has not deserted Natchez-Adams County altogether while kinks in renewing a recreation management contract get worked out. “They’re not running away from us,” Minor said.
The Metropolitan YMCAs of Mississippi was first contracted in 2015 to run Natchez-Adams County recreation programs as plans were underway for building the pool, which opened in June 2018. The aquatic center on Monday still had the Y logos prominently affixed on the structures. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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