Battle over Columbus Aquatic Center heats up

Battle over Columbus Aquatic Center heats up

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Discussions turned heated at times during Tuesday's Columbus City Council meeting, especially when it was time to talk about the Aquatic Center, the city's public indoor swimming facility.

The idea of forming a new commission or advisory board made up of members from local swimming organizations that frequently use the facility for swim meets and practices sparked back and forth dialogue among some leaders.

The new board would oversee marketing for the faculty, but the fireworks came when it was time to discuss whether council will empower the board to have a say in the hiring process of the new aquatic center's director.

"Mr. City Manager, that's common sense and I would think that you and Mr. Worsley and anyone in this government would not take the advice of anyone who is involved," stated Councilor Pops Barnes. "That's foolish and I'm getting tired of this whole situation."

City Manager Isaiah Hugley responded in part, "The Civic Center, we can name them all, Parks and Rec, their advisory boards all have been involved in the hiring process. We invite them into committee meetings. So, it hasn't been done foolishly. It's been done with their involvement."

No decision was made regarding a commission or the full scope of its functions.

Also waiting in the balance are decisions on where the city will find $1.2 million to operate the swim facility for the upcoming fiscal year and who will operate it, a third party or Parks &Rec.

A decision is expected during the budget process in April.

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