Fairway to residents: Don’t hate. Recreate.

It might be an easy target in rough economic times  — but don’t hang the pool out to dry.

That was the message from an article on the front page of Fairway’s most recent quarterly newsletter, which came out last week.

During the often contentious public hearings about Fairway’s proposed 2011 budget this summer, a number of residents told the council they thought the city pool should be closed as a way to narrow the budget gap that eventually necessitated a 44.8 percent property tax hike.

Fairway ended up allocating $22,799 less to Park and Recreation in its 2011 budget than in did in 2010. The 2011 budget projects $333,050 in expenditures and $156,500 in revenue (mostly from pool fees) from the department. The newsletter article says that the city pool saw more than 30,000 visits this summer, an increase of 35 percent over the previous two years. The article goes on to say that the benefits the pool provides, including public health, employment opportunities for youth, and “social capital,” may be difficult to measure, but do real good:

In tough economic times, people are naturally directed to questioning the value of having a Park and Recreation program… Even if you do not have a use for the park or recreation program, residents of the City still benefit from having these entities in place.