>   To the Editor,
   I would like to comment on the upcoming and controversial Madras Aquatic Center levy requesting funds to keep the pool facility afoat (pardon the pun).
   As a Redmond resident, there was a time, not so long ago, when I could not have thought of a single reason to travel to the Madras area. Not so, since the beautiful Madras Aquatic Center opened. As the parent of an ardent swimmer, I now travel there regularly so my child can participate in swim competitions against the MAC team and the numerous other teams that compete at these events.
   Most of these swim meets draw an average of 250 (and up) out-of-town athletes and their families who also stay at hotels, buy gas and groceries, eat at local restaurants, and spend time and money at the movie theater and various other local business. How many other events in your town can boast this more than once a year?
   Our family also participates in water polo matches and high school swim team events at the facility. I find it unthinkable that voters in your area would even question the value of such an outstanding sports facility. It is even next to a school that must surely derive some great benefit from its proximity, and the opportunity to offer physical sports programs that do not require pounding around a track. Other schools should be so fortunate!
   The many businesses in your fair city should be rallying to the cause, as they profit from the many visitors drawn to the area by MAC.
   And to those who comment that funding the pool might cut law-enforcement funds ... if your kids had more wholesome activity options to occupy their idle hours, maybe the officers could turn their attention to other matters. No one likes to see more taxation, but this is an issue that really deserves your support for the good of the city of Madras, not just the folks who actually swim.
   The MAC offers far more than just swimming and a hot-tub. You have a gem in the desert ... be proud of it!
   In closing, I would just like to say that the hospitality and dedication of the parents and staff at MAC have made it our favorite pool, and we compete at many all over the state as well as in Washington and California. They are the best and the facility is outstanding. Please support it!
   Val Houghton
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