Lawton’s aquatics programs to possibly receive change of command

Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - A council member in Lawton is looking to speak with the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority management about having them manage the city’s aquatics programs and facilities, like the municipal pool, instead of the Parks and Recreation department.

According to Ward 8 Councilman Randy Warren, this potential change could lift a heavy weight off of the parks and rec department’s shoulders and bring better changes to Lawton’s aquatics.

Mitchell Dooley, the Parks and Rec Deputy Director, said the department has struggled with being short staffed, causing them to be stretched thin with their responsibilities.

“They take care of a lot of different things across the city, and when we’re allowing to focus on certain things we can a lot of times do a better job for less money,” said Warren.

With the past success of the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority, Warren believes passing the responsibility of the city’s aquatic programs over to them can only be a positive.

“Participation numbers increased and the efficiency at which those sports programs were able to operate was also increased so I think that’s the driving factor,” said Dooley.

However, with city authorities being a board of people appointed by council, how can citizens know they’re voice will carry the same weight as any other public meeting?

“One to two councilmembers are on those boards, and then citizens from all walks of life. Usually it’s citizens that are interested in that subject, whatever it happens to be,” said Warren. “That way that focus is more keenly adapted to the one thing their tasked with.”

According to Warren, the Lawton Youth Sports Trust Authority has more avenues for funding than just city hall to make these upgrades to the cities aquatic programs and facilities.

“We recognize as a parks and rec department that aquatics particularly are important for a community, and we want aquatics programs to be successful,” Dooley said.

With the hot weather we receive in Oklahoma, both officials just want to provide cool places for the citizens, regardless of the method.

Warren said if the authority decides they want to take this on, the item would then go back to council for a final decision.