Letter: Repair Malvern Hills pool in time for summer

Graphic by Lori Deaton

As a resident of Haines, Alaska, where our citizens recently succeeded in convincing our government to make the investment for necessary repairs to reopen our public pool, I urge the Asheville government to do the right thing and listen to the people’s request to repair the Malvern Hills pool and have it open for swim classes and recreation this coming summer.

Swimming pools, trails and bicycle paths are among the most important public recreational infrastructure. These facilities attract visitors and people interested in relocating and pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

The growth Asheville is experiencing is the best reason to upgrade public infrastructure, including swimming pools! These investments are significant secondary economic drivers for Asheville.

I recently visited my daughter and her family who are Malvern Hills pool users and supporters of the work necessary to repair and reopen the pool.

It’s inspiring to see that Asheville visitors and residents are graced with a thriving city of generous green spaces, parks, recreational opportunities and so many other public facilities. These publicly supported facilities are a big reason why people are flocking to Asheville.

In exploring Asheville with my daughter, I was impressed by the dozens of city workers cleaning up and maintaining city parks throughout the city. In one small corner pocket park alone, I counted eight workers and two equipment/materials trucks cleaning up, mulching and grooming the grounds.

This dedication and investment in public spaces is to be applauded. It should not detract from the all-important upgrading and maintenance of public facilities that provide exercise, recreation and skill-building for people of all ages.

Please listen to the people and get the Malvern Hills pool reopened for summer 2024.

— Carol Tuynman
Haines, Alaska


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11 thoughts on “Letter: Repair Malvern Hills pool in time for summer

  1. Mike Rains

    I am sorry for Malvern HIll’s loss (of the pool for the youth of the neighborhood). Asheville is a very strange city.

    The root of most of our problems is a lack of a adquate tax base.(geographical tax base not tax rate). This stems from the complex and sordid history of the Great Depression, city debt and water system ownership. Ultimately, Asheville was largely blocked from annexing into the county to gain a stronger tax base unlike every other city in this state. Ironically, on a proportional basis, Buncombe County gets much more revenue from property taxes than other counties in the state that have cities.

    That said, Asheville and I don’t agree altogether on priorities. I believe Asehville leadership often loses sight of the “greater good” when making budgeting decisions. The homeless problem is real, but leadership spends seemingly endless time and resources on perhaps 400 people in our city. Likewise, city leaders are very proud of the extensive parks in the city; however, if you review that list, you’ll find many that really don’t get much/if any use. They should be cast off and the money spent on more important attributes…..like a nieighborhood swimming pool!

    Regarding the tax base conundrum, did you know that Asheville residents support about 40% of the Buncombe County General Fund (through their county property taxes). While the majority of county functions support the WHOLE county (including Asheville), some functions do not. As an example, Buncombe County has 5 outdoor pools throughout the county. Now, Asheville residents, also being county residents can use those pools, but how likely is that? I requested to Asheville and Buncombe County leaders that Bucombe Count provide financial support for the operation of Asehville’s pools as a sort of payback for the support we (Asheville residents) provide to the county pools. No answer.

    Asheville is never going to prosper until this disparity in tax base and support is somehow resolved in a more equitable fashion. It is not pie in the sky thinking. It just takes bold leadership to acknowledge the problem and start making amends.

    • Think about it

      We can agree to disagree on the expansion of the tax base that is a consistent refrain from you, but we can agree that Asheville’s “leadership” continues to mismanage the funds it collects and without resolving that issue…. It doesn’t matter how much money is collected, it will not appropriately or adequately serve the best interests of the community. Simply throwing money at the problem won’t resolve it.

      • Mike Rains

        If you study the Asheville budget, you’ll see that after core services, there is not much left “to go ’round”. Running a city means trying to meet lots of different demands and so those leftover funds get spread thin pretty quickly.

        Regarding my refrain, I’ve formally identified to BC and Asheville leaders (in detailed studies) over $12M (per year) of taxes that Asheville residents pay to Buncombe County but for which we receive no services. While many county functions serve all county residents (including those in Asheville) some only benefit the non-Asheville county residents.

        If one understands the fact that Asheville’s geographic tax base grown was unusually constrained, unlike all other cities in the state, then you realize that the Asheville/BC ratio of property tax income is much lower than other healthier city/county ratios. And realistically, the ratio is only going to go lower because the development potential out in the county far exceeds what constrained Asheville has. Meanwhile, BC residents living right next to Asheville city limits essentially are able to take advantage of what the city has to offer without supporting things like infrastructure impacts, maintenance of facilities, etc. The inequity in the water system is even worse in that the most expensive operation of the system is out in the county (pumps, tanks, lower density customers) yet county water users pay the same rate as Asheville residents. And, guess which part of the water system is the oldest and experiences the most leaks? Asheville.

        As a resident of Asheville, my vision to better help the city meet it’s needs is for the region to realize that it is in everyone’s best interest to acknowledge these inequities and move to a level of greater fairness for the city.

        • Think about it

          Just admit the current administration has wasted and mismanaged funds. That’s all and then you can push your annexation plan relentlessly. But, if you keep making excuses for the administration and saying that they are spread thin without acknowledging how they made the situation worse isn’t really an honest take.

  2. Mike Rains

    Here’s a summary taken from the FY23-24 Budget – General Fund. You can access the detailed budget here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D_NM4akbXlsXvL9l5MUDBHN3319hvDQT/view

    I’d be interested in where you would cut and how much.
    Admin & CMO 2,217,606
    Fire 38,365,836
    Police 33,819,371
    CAPE 1,139,719
    Capital Projects 3,615,564
    City Attorney 1,500,871
    Community/Econ Dev 3,902,643
    CREF 2,975,095
    Development Svcs 4,864,960
    Equity & Inclusion 518,509
    Finance 3,824,314
    Human Resources 2,181,848
    Information Technology 4,484,934
    Non-Departmental 5,688,222
    Parks & Recreation 13,559,551
    Planning/Urban Design 2,937,083
    Public Works 15,502,753
    Transportation 3,057,358
    Sustainability 839,879
    Transit Transfer 7,049,000
    HTF Transfer 500,000
    HCCA Transfer 1,125,437
    CIP/Debt Service 19,070,415
    Total 172,740,968

    • Think about it

      Again, Asheville has over developed and over spent. They have failed to manage their own budget based on expenses and outflows. They cannot take up every pet project that they believe is beneficial to small segments of the population at the greater expense and detriment of all others. Thrying to fill the coffers with more money from annexed County residents won’t change the fundamentals flaws of mismanagement.

  3. gapple

    Start by cutting the $518,509 Equity and Inclusion budget. It serves no purpose, purely decorative.

      • Think about it

        No surprise that a comment critical of you got censored. You seem as sensitive as you are unwilling to accept that funds aren’t well spent here, budgeting is nonexistent, and your missives here don’t accomplish anything.

        • Mike Rains

          I am sorry that my ideas anger and offed you. That is not my intention.

  4. Zodwa

    That sure is a lot for debt services. So if we approve another bond as will be on this ballot, this will increase again, correct?

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