That's what city service director Chris Murphy is wondering after Portsmouth City Council decided not to sell McKinley Pool, Rose Street Park and Weghorst Park.
“I'm in a quandary,” he said. “I still have the same problem - 15 parks to maintain and no money.”
Murphy said the recreation budget has $4,500 in it.
“That's all recreation has to operate with,” he said. “The only revenues that we currently have for recreation are proceeds that come in from rentals at the campground, revenues generated from the pool (McKinley) and revenues generated from Spartan Stadium.”
City Council decided on Monday not to sell the parks after several residents protested the pool sale.
“Why not sell Mound or Allard Park?” former City Councilman Harald Daub said. “I just wonder what your motives are.”
Murphy said the idea was strictly business.
“As director of public service, I am to be a steward of taxpayers' dollars, just as anybody else who works for the city,” he said. “I take that job very seriously and I feel that I am a good steward of tax dollars.”
Murphy said the city took over operation of the pool because he wanted to find out the actual expenses of running it.
“Yes, we opted to raise the fee from $1 to $3 last year in admission costs,” Murphy said. “That would help offset the cost of ownership. That wasn't very popular.”
Despite the financial hardship of running the pool, Murphy said he does not want to close it.
What about keeping the pool and selling the two parks?
“Selling two would help somewhat,” Murphy said. “But it wouldn't have the full impact of selling the pool.”
Rose Street Park in Sciotoville was chosen because it does not get much use anymore because the high school and Little League baseball and softball teams no longer use it.
Weghorst Park is near Valley Foods in Boneyfiddle.
“That's not used much anymore either,” Murphy said. “It's more of a prostitute area at night and it's more in a commercial area than a residential one.”
This is not the first time the city has been concerned over the finances of upkeeping its parks.
Last year, it raised the fees for the campground on the Ohio River. Several campers came to City Council to protest the action.
Besides the parks, the city also owns the Southern Ohio Museum building and is responsible for its upkeep.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.