LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Children living in four Louisville communities learned they wouldn’t have a pool this summer, with the city choosing to not open them because of the budget shortfall.
However, two councilmembers said they’re not throwing in the towel.
Metro Councilwoman Barbara Sexton Smith (D-District 4) said she wants to give children the chance to swim in a pool this summer. She and Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-District 14) are focused on opening the Algonquin and Sun Valley pools.
However, they still need $100,000 and certified lifeguards to reach their open goal date of July 4.
“Can you imagine being a child living in a community that is plighted and there’s not a lot of development and not a lot of amenities,” Smith said. “How are you going to feel about yourself? And then your local leadership says, ‘We’re going to close your pool.’”
Smith said the community and the Louisville Metro Police Department know closing a public pool goes beyond taking away an activity.
“Idle times gets people in trouble and (when) you don’t have anything to do, you start twiddling your thumbs," LMPD spokesman Lamont Washington said. "That’s when people start making more unethical decisions.”
Families with lower incomes already face challenges with swimming. As of 2017, the USA Swimming Foundation reports 79 percent of families that make $50,000 or less a year have low swimming abilities.
“Taking away that ability to have that exposure (to swimming) really just prevents them from learning that lifesaving skill,” Bear Paddle Swim School manager Alex Hall said. “It opens them up personality wise. The kids are able to grow a lot.”
That’s why Smith said she’s going to work on community fundraising and business contacts to try to find the money to bring the Algonquin and Sun Valley pools back this season.
”I’m not going to stand for pools being on the chopping block,” Smith said.