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Community is not the result of buildings and a zip code. Community comes from citizens working together to support the relationships, services and opportunities that promote our well-being and economy. We have always been a community that comes together when there's a need — think Bridger Foothills fire — but currently, the Bozeman Swim Center is grinding through a slow, bureaucratic process rather than expediting thoughtful, legal alternatives to closing down the pool by 50%.

The swim center provides more opportunities than practice lanes for swim teams. It is an affordable recreation and exercise option for adults and families and provides training environments for scuba and kayaking. It is a community service that provides swim lessons and an economic engine as it hosts hundreds of competitive swimmers for swim meets.

It is obvious that our community is addressing many concerns and has competing priorities. While the swim center may not appear to be a top concern for some, it could become no concern at all if our public partners could work effectively with our private partners who are certified guards, instructors and facility managers. As a swim community we have requested meetings to discuss alternatives and have responded to directions for employment applications. We have offered our services and are ready to step up while the long-term staffing and management strategies are implemented. The city has raised wages and made some short-term and long-term hires. However, our other ideas and partnership offers have been met with resistance.

For a community that has a history of working together and being creative problem solvers, it is out of character that a viable solution is sidelined and our community loses valued services as a result. The swim community, including coaches, instructors, parents, board members and youth, are ready to help. Let’s work together and keep swimming.

Jane Mittelsteadt


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