Again, I have to send up a cheer for the Dublin EDC who continues to make sure that it is doing all it can do for the town of Dublin, Texas. This time help came in the form of a swimming pool, according to Karen Wright, executive director of the Dublin EDC.
“The idea was simple: giving Dublin kids something to do for the summer. The pool has been closed because the city did not feel that it could afford the costs associated with keeping it open, but Dublin’s Lee Leatherwood knew that it needed to be open and that he could do it if he had some financial assistance.
“He compiled estimates on lifeguard expenses, etc. and came to the EDC with no specific request, just that he needed assistance. The board voted to give Lee an $8,000 interest-free loan (its first loan since it was formed more than a dozen years ago) and members insisted that Lee form an association to handle the funds and whatever other legal details would be required.
“The pool opened within two weeks of when the idea first saw daylight, and it was incredibly successful. It wasn’t just the kids who came to swim but the early morning exercisers as well. And the Rotary Club hosted water volleyball contests and an evening of appreciation for city employees which included hamburgers and other games. The pool was used many evenings for private parties or other events.
“Because the success of the swimming pool — measured in a number of ways — was so profound, the EDC board voted to change the loan to a grant which meant that repayment was no longer an issue. Having that loan removed from its ledger sheet means the group can now focus on generating funds to open the pool again next year.
“One of the major things that the board appreciated was the involvement of the community’s youth. They appreciated that the young people saw a need and figured out a way to meet it. It was a financial lesson for everyone involved in the pool association but it also helped to develop pride in their community. Plus it literally took kids who had nothing to do during the summer off the streets and away from potential poor choices.
“In every way that we know how to measure (with the exception of the bottom line financially), the project was a huge success. And the EDC board, in changing the no-interest loan to a community improvement grant, opened the door for an ongoing opportunity.”
Three cheers for the Dublin EDC. All towns should be so fortunate in having a board that truly wants its town to be successful and is willing to work toward that goal!