By Ben Rodgers
The Save Legion Pool movement is far from finished, but at this stage the group deserves praise for being a success on multiple fronts.
On Tuesday, the De Pere City Council took heed from a recommendation from the Board of Park Commissioners and reconsidered a previous motion to close Legion Pool on the city’s east side as part of plans to build an aquatic center on the city’s west side.
Voters in De Pere will now have a binding referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot asking if the city should pay for upgrades and operations at the two existing pool sites.
Ask anyone involved in the Save Legion Pool Movement and they will tell you change is not easy.
This group met, devised a plan, came up with a presentation and eventually swayed a city commission and city council to put this to a vote.
That alone is an impressive feat and both members of the movement and city government deserve recognition.
Credit Save Legion Pool for organizing in an efficient and legal capacity, and following through on its goal with research and compelling testimonials.
Credit city government for listening to what the people want and realizing it would be in the public’s best interest to reconsider the plans.
This is one strand of fabric in the quilt that makes De Pere a great place to live. Concerned citizens and an elected government that chooses to listen to them, instead of shut them out.
Even if the group had failed and Legion Pool would have been shut down for good, the movement showed that people care about their communities.
One movement organizer told me she felt like she had a whole group of citizens concerned about the welfare of her children and their opportunities for summer recreation.
That should be the case for communities everywhere.
Seeing people come together for change is an inspiring sight, and in this case, should be remembered for a long time.
Save Legion Pool isn’t just about the kids, it isn’t an east side vs. west side charge, it is about people wanting what’s best for their neighbors.
It’s about keeping part of what gives De Pere it’s old world charm intact.
It’s about keeping open a public amenity that is used by some, and beloved by many for a myriad of reasons.
As I said earlier, this topic is far from being decided. Save Legion Pool will have to keep up the good work if it wants to see this through.
Voters will need to be educated and informed and this will likely draw more conversation and community involvement.
The Tuesday, Aug. 21 meeting was the first major step, but there are still stairs left to climb.
However, if the Save Legion Pool movement has made anything known, it’s that people can come together for a cause they believe in and they can affect change.
More people now than ever before are engaged in local politics, have concerns, qualms or praise for their aldermen and are part of the machine that is local government.
And after the past few weeks it’s certain that machine has never hummed along so sound.
Congratulations Save Legion Pool, and De Pere government. The future is more bright when everyone keeps their ideals and beliefs burning strongly.