I love Leadville and I loved our aquatic center until it closed last year. I am a third generation swimmer, learning to swim before I could walk, and it has always been a part of my life for over 77 years.

Here in Leadville, swimming has been part of my health maintenance along with skiing, hiking, biking and kayaking. What makes swimming such an important part of this is the healing, non-abusive nature of the activity. Swimming is a great total body workout, but also very meditative, relaxing and soothing.

About two to three times a week, I swam my laps and then “rewarded” myself with a sauna or hot tub visit. I enjoyed seeing friends there: watching dads and moms with their little ones as they learned to love to swim; other seniors in group water aerobics or yoga classes; people doing physical therapy exercises or just enjoying walking or floating in the pool sometimes while wearing oxygen; kids and adults playing basketball, volleyball or using the climbing wall or diving board, some being “tested” to go in the deep end; learning to be a lifeguard; or just making up games to play in the pool.

As you can see, our pool offered something for every age group from birth to old age. Although to me, our pool was perfect (and I have been in lots of pools), I have learned that it is in need of major repairs and upgrades to meet all of the current requirements, such as Americans with Disabilities Act.

I was very naive about what it was going to take to get our pool reopened: “Oh, just some fundraising and maybe six months?” After attending a couple meetings for the Lake County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan and receiving multiple emails from Jane Harelson and others, I have learned how complicated, expensive and time consuming this process is becoming.

Some feel that Leadville needs a totally new recreation center. That would obviously require more time and money. And in the meantime there still would not be a pool, which has provided so many unique programs for so many people. The closing of our pool has been a major loss in my life and for many others who enjoyed the activities and programs offered there.

There are lots of trails for hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing. There are ballfields, playgrounds, rivers, lakes and gyms. But there was only one pool. Now it is closed. We miss our pool.

My preference would be to repair and upgrade our current facility as soon as possible. We also need to provide secure funding for staffing and maintenance. Our pool, as it was, served many people of all ages of Leadville’s community. It is more important to get it reopened than to continue meeting and discussing and planning and dreaming for more years.

It has already been closed for almost a year. Please let’s move forward to get our pool open as soon as possible. Get involved. Learn what you can do to help.

Gabrielle Burkham


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