Binghamton Leaders Discuss First Ward Pool & Center

By WBNG News

July 22, 2010 Updated Sep 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM EDT

Binghamton City Leaders are going through the 2010 budget line by line.

They are looking to cut, consolidate and save where ever they can.

Action News Reporter Caitlin Nuclo takes a closer look at what is up for discussion in the First Ward.

The 2010 proposed budget cuts two positions from Binghamton's adult recreation department.

That leaves only one full-time supervisor at the Loyal Greenman Senior Center and one at the First Ward Center, which has led the talks of consolidation.

"It isn't at a point where one of the centers are going to definitely close, it's a possibility," said Director of Parks and Recreation, John Whalen.

One of the many possibilities on the table, as the city looks to control costs.

"We have to look at all of those things. And it would be fiscally irresponsible to not look at all of those things," said Councilman Bob Weslar.

"I know the feeling with the administration, with this department, and the feeling with the general public and council is they'd like to see both centers open. So I would say as a guess that both centers would remain open," said Whalen.

But Whalen is breaking down the numbers.

He's also doing the math on Binghamton's parks.

The First Ward pool is more than 50 years old and it needs to be updated.

But the parks department says those needed renovations could be very costly.

"Plumbing, filter systems, different things that are leaking right now," said Whalen. "I'm talking about upwards 250 - 300 thousand dollars just to put sort of a band-aid approach to keep it open."

The department did not budget for any improvements to that pool.

But, Weslar says the city will keep the pool running as long as possible.

And, could look to replace it when city finances improve.

Some who live in the neighborhood, say it's an asset they'd like to keep.

"The children, the adults go there too, we don't really have any other recreation here."

Weslar says council will continue trying to balance services across the city to make them affordable to taxpayers.

The proposed budget would also close the First Ward Fire Station.

Councilman Weslar says his district will still have adequate protection.

City Council will discuss fire and police protection at it's work session tonight.

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