EDITORIAL: Morony Natatorium to close within the year

NOTE: A member of the Introduction to Journalism class wrote this editorial as a class assignment. Editorials are not signed.

A well beloved recreational center in Great Falls faces foreclosure. The Morony Natatorium in has been the go-to for indoor swimming for the citizens of the town for 50+ years. Because of inevitable aging on the old building, extensive repairs are needed for the center to be safe enough to stay open.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, “the total cost of structural repairs was calculated somewhere around $280,000.” As it has been little over seven years since that initial estimate, the costs and issues have both gotten worse.
The building is falling apart, the costs are through the roof, and its attendance has been falling for years. Other municipal pools, public safety, and law enforcement are all things that deserve the money more than the Nat. The community would actually be able to see and feel the benefits of their tax dollars if it were to be used in these areas.
The Great Falls City Manager, Greg Doyon, was quoted by the Tribune saying “We’re Band-Aiding the facility until something catastrophic happens and we’ll have to close it.” Despite many fundraisers since 2011, the Nat has not been able to raise the money needed to cover their increasing yearly cost of simply running the center and have enough left over to pay for the expensive repairs.
Many people will not be happy to see the Nat go, and perhaps will even blame the city for not figuring out a way to fund the repairs. It’s fair for them to say that the closure will be a loss to the community, and that it definitely contributed many hours of fun to thousands of people. However, there is no good way to keep it open.
The Nat is a municipal pool, meaning it is owned by the city, as are places like Jaycee Pool, the Electric City Water Park, and the Water Tower Pool. If the city did not have to worry about a failing facility whose attendance does not warrant the costs of repairs, more money could go to these other pools.
The official decision will be decided later this year, but some city workers have already stated that the money the Nat is asking for would be much better used in public safety departments. Andrew Finch, the Senior Planner in the Great Falls Planning and Community Development Department, said that he believes the boost in funding for law enforcement will be good for the community, and although he was disappointed about the impending closure, it was the right thing to do.
As of now the end nye for this old indoor swimming facility. It is only a matter of time until something within it collapses or the city makes the decision. We will be sad to see it go, but we believe that the extensive finances used to keep it open will be better used elsewhere in ways that the community could benefit from.