Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

By Nate Fiene, Village of Weston Trustee

Last year, the world did not know as much as we do now about the coronavirus
pandemic. I supported opening the Aquatic Center as long as the Village could do
it in a safe manner. The Parks Department worked very hard to make it safe for all
patrons. Unfortunately, due to a confluence of events, the WAC ran a substantial
deficit.

This year, with the world knowing more about the coronavirus and vaccines
remaining effective across all strains of covid, I am supportive of opening the
WAC in principle. As far as CDC recommendations go, we hit just about all of
them: outdoors, chlorinated pool, extra cleaning, and masks when inside the
facility. Given all that, I am convinced that the pool can open safely. My biggest
concern now is the economic impact.

The Aquatic Center is popular, without question. I worked there for a number of
summers and saw firsthand how much everyone enjoyed coming. I do not,
however, believe it is a wise use of taxpayer funds to run such a large deficit again.
While I share the desire to see it open, it is not on the same level as public safety
services, plowing streets, or road construction.

If staff comes up with a plan that shows the Weston Aquatic Center can run
without too many restrictions and be cost-effective, I am inclined to support
opening it for the year. If we are unable to run it in a cost-effective way, then I will
likely oppose it. In an era of shrinking municipal budgets, every penny matters.

Contact Nate Fiene at nfiene@westonwi.gov