We recently received our guidelines and recommendations from the Nebraska Dept. of Environment & Energy. It appears that they WILL be allowing pools to open following strict social distancing guidelines and sanitation measures as it has not been shown that the virus can be spread through pool water. The restrictions impose limits of 10 people at a time at the pool and maintaining a distance between swimmers of 6 feet. I imagine that most of our members can see that following such restrictions will be very difficult in a pool setting that requires a minimum number of active families as members to adequately fund the pool.
So, as with many area businesses and organizations we are left having to consider all our options for the upcoming swim season. Unfortunately, the large majority of our current 2019 Board of Directors have decided to not renew their memberships for the 2020 season. Our By-Laws clearly state that Board Members must have an active membership to serve on the Board of Directors. Currently, only I as president, has an active membership. After consulting with our donated legal advisor, I have been informed that I may act with executive authority to both make decisions for the management and welfare of the pool in all matters and appoint new board members from our active member list.
While I will do so as necessary until the minimum of 5 Board Members is achieved to form the required quorum, I am not comfortable being the sole decision making authority for the pool, especially given the fact that such decisions may ultimately result in the permanent closure of the Meadow Lane Pool if minimum financial obligations cannot be met. We currently have a mere 22 active members and need at least 165 active members to operate the pool at full capacity and staff. Instead, I will be mailing out a survey questionnaire to our current active members and be asking for volunteers to serve on the Board of Directors for the 2020 season. Many important decisions will be made in the coming weeks regarding the future of Meadow Lane Pool & Park Association.
***If you want to have a say in the future of the pool, it is important to pay your membership before May 1st!
Among some of the decisions I will want them to consider are: Can the pool be operated in some lessor capacity like, operating without lifeguards, allowing active members keys to use the pool like an apartment complex or hotel pool, opening the pool to regular daytime party rentals for individual families and groups of 10 or less. (This option would allow for active members to have regular party slots for their families.)? Or should the pool be closed for the 2020 season and have all current active memberships transferred to 2021 season? Unfortunately, at this point, memberships refunds cannot be made as most of these funds have already been used to pay taxes, fees and utilities. We will also need to consider the possibility of imposing a bond maintenance fee to keep unused bonds active through the 2020 season or even donating the pool to another non-profit like Lincoln Youth Sports, that may be in a better position to support the pool financially. Of course, doing so means forever losing control over the pool locally through its bonded members. Such a donation may result in the pool being simply closed and sold for development.
There are also a couple executive decisions I want to announce ahead of the forth coming member survey. I have suspended the half price memberships for the Board of Directors for the 2020 season. This is both a financial and pragmatic decision considering that we are going to be calling on members that have already payed their full 2020 membership to fill the vacant seats on the board, and we currently cannot afford to give out refunds. Also, I am suspending credit card services through our bank to save money. Individuals may still pay their memberships through Paypal online as they wish.
Finally, I want to tell all our bonded members that I am dedicated to doing the very best for Meadow Lane pool. But there is only so much one man can do. We are a social organization the provides access to the pool to our members, not the other way around. I know we are all going through hard times, but if we fail to support the things we love from our churches, to our local businesses, to our unique local pool with a 60 year history in the Meadow Lane neighborhood through these hard times, we can hardly expect those things to still be here when the hard times pass us by. In that spirit, donations are always welcome, regardless of how small. And volunteers are always encouraged to become a part of such a valuable tradition and resource.
With Hope & Prayers,
Richard Okelberry, President, MLPA