May 3, 2012

Leader’s Forum: “Changes to the base pool”

Col. Robert C. Kuckuk
MCAS Commanding Officer

It’s true: we are going to begin charging a small fee (like the bowling alley and the movie theater) to use the station pool for recreational swimming.

Before the rumor mill reaches peak output, I want to go on the record to dispel some of the myths before they get started.

It’s necessary for MCCS to charge a fee to recover some of the costs for this Category B (Mission Enhancing) activity. When the pool is used as a Category A Activity (Mission Critical) admission to the pool will remain free of charge. An example of this is lap swim and unit training. There will be other times when access to the pool for active duty Marines will be free. Typically, Friday is free to those who participate in field day of the barracks.

We have set the fee schedule to ensure it is less expensive than the fees out in town. Very few facilities are able to offer use of their pools and splash pads for free. The Navy and Air Force facilities on the West Coast charge. Other USMC facilities are considering the need to begin charging a fee. Pool maintenance, chemicals and life guards all cost money.

I recognize there are pools available to housing residents run by Lincoln Housing management that don’t charge a fee. I live in housing, too, and I encourage everyone to make use of these facilities….I will if only to keep my eye on my son working there as a lifeguard. But don’t kid yourself into thinking the use of these facilities are free. Their costs are included in the rent you pay each month. That’s not a knock on Lincoln Management…I’m proud to be associated with them on our base…but running these sorts of activities costs money.

Finally, the children’s pool and why it was demo’ed to make way for the splash pad. I decided the children’s pool needed to go because we could not keep it clean enough to avoid it from becoming a health hazard. I have children too, and have used that very pool to escape the Yuma heat. But when presented with the evidence by our medical personnel, the conclusion I came to was that the splash pad area was a far safer environment for the children.

So, that’s the long and short of it. I wish I could continue to provide this excellent activity free for all. It’s my hope the improvements made to the station pool will provide value to you and your families that will make the hard earned money you have to spend worthwhile. I remain open to any and all suggestions through the ICE program to make this, and any changes to the base we are forced to make, more agreeable and worthwhile.

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