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WTVM Editorial 06/08/22: Too Few Public Pools

WTVM Editorial 06/08/22: Too Few Public Pools
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 8:38 AM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - We can probably all agree that children need safe and inexpensive activities to keep them busy during the summer break.

Swimming is one of the best ways to spend a summer. Swimming is great exercise; it helps kids make new friends and builds confidence in young ones just learning to swim.

But none of those benefits can happen if public swimming pools aren’t open.

In Columbus, just two facilities, the Aquatic Center on Macon Road and the Double Churches Road pool will be open this summer. The other three city pools need various, expensive repairs and at least two of them won’t be fixed or open at all this summer.

Even though a Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, known by the acronym “SPLOST” passed in 2021 to fund projects like this, the pools are still not repaired. In fact, the city’s webpage says the Psalmond Road Pool is “temporarily closed due to COVID-19″ - an outdated message that also appears when looking up information on the Shirley B. Winston Pool.

The extra sales tax was supposed to fund $48 million in Parks and Recreation projects, including city pools. But with fewer pools open, fewer kids will learn to swim and that’s dangerous.

Swimming lessons can and do keep kids from drowning, the second leading cause of death for all kids up to age 14. Those who learn to swim decrease their chance of drowning by 88 percent.

Yet, three Columbus pools remain closed, two since 2018, with no repair timeline shared. It’s time to make public pools in Columbus a priority.

Summer is here and kids deserve safe, updated pools to play in.

They won’t get them this summer, but maybe by next summer all the pools will finally be open and stay that way.

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