Before killing the public pool …

Published 1:21 pm Friday, May 6, 2016

To the Editor,

Close our city pool? Must our city drown this puppy? This is about “whys.” Why is teaching swimming and water safety not a required part of the physical education program of Beaufort County Schools? Why is it not a physical fitness initiative, one of our national priorities? Why can’t the city get help looking into potential grants? And most importantly, why do not the county cooperate better with the city when it comes to programs for children? This is not that big a place, is it?

We know our representatives entrusted with public money make hard choices, as do the citizens. But if people didn’t ask “why” and “what if,” no innovation would ever occur. Among the whys, why can’t we have a physical education “elective” for school that occurs after school? We have drivers ed after school, so why not swim lessons? Why can’t swimming be part of the afterschool program? And why couldn’t some group pitch in to help wit the cost of bus transportation for students out in the county?

Before I was a senior citizen, in the dark ages when I attended public school back home, a week of swimming lessons was a highlight of summer for me and my sisters. My parents didn’t have to pay too much for our lessons—maybe they got a reduced rate—but the activities bus picked us up from a central location, and the Red Cross taught and sponsored lessons in a pool. Because we lived near the water it was considered important for every child to learn to swim, and also to build young bodies (we were in competition with the Soviets). I don’t think people were as afraid of the water back then, or of public pools, or if they were, then swimming programs helped change attitudes and saved lives, at least where I came from.

Yes, we have another fine, big pool in this city (private) and some people can pay to use it, but most people can’t afford it. Personally, as a senior on a tight budget, frankly, I pay just $50 a year through my Medicare supplement insurance to participate in the aquatic programs available in Greenville, and I do because water aerobics do not street the joints, and it is cheaper for me to go there—our own city pool is not cheap to use. So, that is reality, and it all comes down to hard facts. But here is my big “why:” Why does not the county government work better with the city government—are they not entrusted with the education and health of all our children? And what about our state government? “All” I am asking for is for all our elected representatives to seriously explore options, and work together, before killing the public pool. Thank you.


Billie-Jean E. Mallison