With temperatures reaching the high 90s in several parts of the region Thursday, people are bound to be looking for a place to take a dip, something that has recently been more difficult for Bingham County residents.
The Blackfoot Pool has been closed since last year. When the bond to save the pool failed in November it seemed that all hope for the pool was gone, but that’s not the case.
“It’s an important infrastructure facility for a community our size and we have it,” former Blackfoot Mayor Mike Virtue said. “Yes, it needs some upgrading, but we have it, if we lose it we won’t get it back.”
Virtue knows the value of the pool. It’s a place he’s spent a lot of time during his eight years as mayor.
“I swam probably 1,500 miles, three times a week, sometimes four.”
Now he’s part of a committee looking to save the pool, one signature at a time.
“So, we need 2,800 verified, certified, signatures on our petition in order for it to get on the ballot in November.”
The community has given the petition a lot of support, with places like the Movie Mill and Kesler’s allowing people to sign the petition there.
Signing it wouldn’t put another bond on the ballot but would instead help the effort to create a recreation district.
“What that does is it gives people an opportunity outside of the city limits, the bonds were restricted specifically to city limits, we have support from outside of the city limits, people who are interested in keeping the pool around and this expands that and takes us out to more people,” Virtue explained.
The new recreation district, which would include the Snake River, Blackfoot and Firth school districts, only needs 50 percent plus one to pass on a ballot.
“So, we think we have a pretty good chance, if we can get the petition signatures, that’ll get on the ballot, we feel like we have a relatively good chance of getting a recreation district created,” Virtue said.
Virtue says you can’t put enough emphasis on the value the pool has in the community.
“I told you a million times not to understate it,” he said. “It would be a major loss to the community.”
Should they obtain the nearly 3,000 signatures they need and get that 50 percent plus one come November, the pool will likely still be closed for at least two years as funds are generated to get things updated and running like normal.
The group hopes to have 3,000 signatures by August 1.
If you’re interested in the effort, the group meets every Thursday at 6 p.m. at Dawn Enterprises in Blackfoot.