August 23, 2006
Charlotte, NC – Use of outdoor swimming pools run by the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department has increased 20-percent so far this summer. The increase occurred mainly among youngsters and teens. It occurred even though the department operates two outdoor pools this year, compared to three last year.
Specific figures show 20,281 pool admissions through August 15, 2006, compared to 16,970 admissions last year in the same period. Officials attribute the increase to:
- Word getting around about the new $1 general admission charge. Until the middle of last summer, charges were $4 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, and $2 for youngsters 18 and younger.
- Free swimming lessons offered this year on weekdays. Lessons start one hour before the pools' regular opening time. The lessons are a free "extra" offered with a regular paid admission. More than 750 individual swim lessons have been taught this summer.
"An increase in pool use is exactly what we hoped to accomplish," says James Alsop, Park and Recreation's Division Director for Enterprise Services. "We want more kids to have swimming available as a wholesome and healthy activity. We want them to swim in a supervised facility with lifeguards, which reduces the risk of drowning."
Alsop said it has been a goal of Park and Recreation to make swimming more accessible to all youngsters, especially minority children and teens. Alsop notes that only about one percent of amateur competitive swimmers in America are African-Americans, and that in the history of US Olympic swimming teams, only two swimmers have been black. Mecklenburg Park and Recreation Department sponsors a free Inner City Swim Team at both Outdoor Pools during the summer and a year-round minority swim team at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center, the Queen City Dolphins, to teach swimming and to open the door of competitive swimming to minority youngsters.
Park and Recreation Outdoor swimming pools are open 12pm-6pm Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 - 5 p.m. on Sundays. These pools are:
- Double Oaks Pool, 2605 Double Oaks Road
- Revolution Pool, 1201 Remount Road
On Labor Day, September 4, 2006, the pools will operate special hours from noon -6 p.m. before closing for the season.
At the end of last summer Revolution Pool on Remount Road was closed because it was almost 70 years old and to make way for a new "sports and learning academy" on that site.