Should public pools be closed or cut back to save money?

Across the country and in metro Atlanta, public swimming pools are being closed or hours reduced to help trim budget as the country tries to recover from recession.

From The Huffinton Post:

“But as the Great Recession has drained city budgets across the country, it also has drained public pools for good. From New York City to Sacramento, Calif., pools now considered costly extravagances are being shuttered, taking away a rite of summer for millions. It’s especially hard for families that can’t afford a membership to private pool or fitness club and don’t live in a neighborhood where they can befriend with someone with a backyard pool.”

“Hard times haven’t always meant cutbacks. An author who studied the role swimming pools played in 20th century America found more than 1,000 municipal pools were built as public works projects during the Great Depression. But this time, most governments only see decades-old pools burning holes in already tight budgets.”

From The AJC:

“… Faced with a $31.5 million budget shortfall, Cobb County commissioners recently approved service cuts and other measures to balance the budget. As a result, county pools will be open an average of 10 hours less each week beginning this month.”

“ ‘It’s all about the economy,’ Cobb aquatics manager Bob McCallister said. “The county just isn’t getting the revenue to support these operations.”

“Cobb isn’t alone. Local governments across the country are reducing hours, raising fees or — in some cases — closing pools as they grapple with the Great Recession’s effect on tax revenue.”

“In metro Atlanta, Clayton, Fulton and Gwinnett counties also have adjusted pool fees or hours. And while some governments like Cherokee County and the city of Cumming continue to build pools, others — such as Roswell — are saying “no thanks” for now, even when offered assistance from the private sector.”

“ ‘Everybody facing budget pressures is looking at the total package of things they offer,’ said Bill Beckner, research manager for the National Recreation and Park Association. ‘Many of them are looking at swimming pools and aquatic programs.’ ”

“Some say that’s what they should be doing. Lance Lamberton, president of the Cobb County Taxpayers Association, said the county should focus on providing core services like public safety and leave pools to the private sector.”

“ ‘They’re not essential,’ Lamberton said. ‘Roads are essential. Police protection is essential. Fire and emergency management are essential. Aquatic centers are not essential.’ ”

How much does it cost to run a large public pool?

From the AJC:

“Gwinnett spent about $3.3 million on aquatics programs last year. Cobb spends more than $2 million. Cumming officials recently set aside $1.2 million to operate a new pool this year, though Mayor Henry Ford Gravitt believes it won’t cost that much.”

“Governments offset those costs by charging for admission and classes. Such fees cover about 75 percent of expenses in Gwinnett. They cover half the costs in Cobb, which raised parks and recreation fees 10 percent to 15 percent last fall.”

“McCallister said Cobb officials traditionally believed pool fees should be low to keep services as affordable as possible for residents. “They’ve already paid taxes toward getting them built,” he said.”

“But McCallister said that philosophy is changing in light of the economy.”

“Some who use Cobb pools think it should raise rates. Edward Patterson of Kennesaw attends an aqua aerobics class at Mountain View Aquatic Center in Marietta. It costs him $2 per class.”

“ ‘You’d pay that much for a root beer if you stopped by the side of the road,’ Patterson said. ‘If this thing is not making money, raise the rates until it pays for itself.’ ”

“Last year the Engage Gwinnett panel said the county should close and sell pools or raise fees so they are completely self-supporting.”

So what do you think: Are public pools not essential  during a hot Georgia summer? Should rates be raised slightly to help cover the costs and keep the pools open?

Have you seen cutbacks at your local area pool? Does this plan only hurt poor people who don’t have access to private pools or is it truly something non-essential that can be cut?

52 comments Add your comment

Mom of 1 name

May 31st, 2011
1:41 pm

No one wants to pay taxes, so these services get cut. What derails me are the one who complain about taxes are the same who complain about cuts in services…..Not all of them, but many.

catlady

May 31st, 2011
1:45 pm

Ever notice that if YOU benefit, it is essential, but if you don’t use it, it is a waste of money?

Pools are great, if they can be maintained by those who use them. This means raising fees until such time as the raises cut into the users so much there are too few to support it at all.

In our area we have one public pool (that is still on life support thanks to a generous local foundation) and a few pools at various gated communities. The majority of kids swim in the creeks, lakes, and rivers. I love being able to use a pool, but we need our roads repaired, and our library to be open–these benefit many more people. Golf courses? The airport? Absolutely silly to be paid for at all by the citizens. Let those who use them pay for them–totally.

Wants and needs are not the same, and it is past High Time to recognize that!

Lady Strange

May 31st, 2011
1:53 pm

Pools are not exactly cheap to maintain, especially not at the commercial level.

jarvis

May 31st, 2011
2:00 pm

I don’t understand the headline.

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
2:06 pm

@Jarvis ~ it’s quite obvious it’s a typo. Just substitute the word “be” for the word “for”….DUH!

Janice

May 31st, 2011
2:12 pm

i just think of the germs. can’t control how clean or dirty someone is as they jump in a pool. i lived in an apartment complex one time and the pool water was so cloudy and milky i refused to let kids even think about using it.

jarvis

May 31st, 2011
2:29 pm

Yes KoolAid House, I was politely ribbing her to fix it. Thank you for explaining the obvious.

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
2:33 pm

@jarvis ~ I apologize. I have a friend that swears she has no idea what the OBVIOUS is saying and it drives me nuts. I thought perhaps there was another like her walking the Earth. I stand corrected.

malleesmom

May 31st, 2011
2:58 pm

It’s not a poor vs rich issue. Our neighborhood is too small to support a pool. Therefore our family has annual passes to the Gwinnett pools. They cut the night time hours a couple of years ago. Tough luck if both parents worked and the kids wanted to swim after finally getting home :( As for income raised by lesson fees etc. I have no issue with raising them PROVIDED when parents pay for lessons, the instructors actually have a space to utilize. Since January, my kids who were supposed to learn long distance strokes were fighting for lane space. The instructors were forced to share lanes, allowing swimmers to only swim half-distance because between public patrons, lessons and oh, the water polo/diving/high school swimmers, the pool was too crowded. I realize the county, Gwinnett in this case, is trying to squeeze every possible dollar out of that space. There has to be a better way. The pools are needed. Just look at attendance numbers.

penguinmom

May 31st, 2011
3:05 pm

Currently costs my family $24 each time we visit the pool in Gwinnett. It’s not terribly expensive but the cost does make us hesitate sometimes. If they raised the prices much, we wouldn’t go at all. The FunPass/Yearly pass is great if you plan on going a lot but we’d currently have to visit 10 times in order to cover our normal entrance fee. Any after that would be ‘free’.

To me, having the pool available is a value-add to living in this county. Having access to this type of amenity adds to home values in the county just like having good schools, good libraries and green space does. Even if you are someone who is part of a neighborhood pool, the county pools offer slides, lazy rivers and other activities that a subdivision pool doesn’t.

Closing them would mean that they wasted my tax dollars back when they built them. I’d rather spend a little in tax money to keep them going than have empty structures sitting there.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

May 31st, 2011
3:07 pm

Some of the municipal pools here were thinking right when faced with closing…..let the private sector run it. The city pretty much let a pool staffing agency use the pools for free and the agency paid operating costs and got all the revenue…the raised the rates a little, but from what I can tell the business venture is going …… wait for it……. swimmingly. (couldn’t help myself)…

sometimes the answers to the government crisis is to remove the government from the equation. I believe government is really good at some things…but running business entities like a business is not one of them.

JJ

May 31st, 2011
3:15 pm

As I grow older, I have less tolerance for unsupervised kids at pools.

Just yesterday, I was at a friend’s pool at her apartment complex. One woman shows up with two boys, one about 3 and the other around 6 or 7. Both kids were in the pool, supervised by whomever was closest to them. Mom had a book and an iPod, and was NOT paying any attention to her two children. I hate it when parents don’t supervise their own children, especially at a pool.

Another woman had a kid, about 8 years old, and apparently he had never been in a swimming pool before. She yelled at him the entire 2 hours I was there. I now hate the name Daniel……Daniel was a very obnoxious child. DANIEL QUIT SPLASHING. DANIEL DON’T GO PAST THE STEPS. DANIEL QUIT IT…..DANIEL DON’T PANIC WHEN YOU GO UNDER. DANIEL PA-PA IS TALKING TO YOU!!!! Everytime Daniel did something, he yelled at the top of his lungs “LOOK AT ME”, to anyone who would give him attention, over and over and over. I don’t think Daniel gets a lot of attention at home, in the trailer park. Mom was a huge redneck and talked very loud. Daniel was a little redneck kid and he was very disrespectful to everyone at the pool. I finally looked at my friend, packed my bags, and I told her I was out of there. There wasn’t enough beer to keep me at that pool any longer. Daniel’s grandparents were not very happy with Daniel either. Grandma keep saying how nice it is that they don’t live with them. And how nice it is to send Daniel HOME.

All I wanted was a lazy day at the pool, with some beer and friends. But Daniel and his Momma made that impossible. Oh well…..I went home and grilled out with the neighbors….

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
3:15 pm

I grew up with a community pool and found them to be a necessity. My summers would have been miserable if I didn’t have the community pool to attend. I can only imagine the mischief boys and girls would get into if they didn’t have the community pool as an outlet. Not only that, build more community waterparks. Not everyone wants/needs to go to a WhiteWater.

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
3:18 pm

@JJ ~ you see that’s the key, you don’t want to be in the area of the pool where the kids are unsupervised. I don’t understand those parents who read and on their blackberry or their IPads while the kids are playing in the water. Much like when I’m at the mall and see little children walking BEHIND their parents…WTH is that. Never, could I do that. Bottom line, community pools will yeild a certain amount of unruliness. Unfortunately, it’s part of the package.

Sylvania

May 31st, 2011
3:19 pm

Lots of people are screaming “cut spending” these days. But when the spending cuts hit close to home – less policemen/firefighters, libraries closing, cuts to school programs – they scream even louder.

Either make the pools self-sustaining or close them.

Mom of 1 name

May 31st, 2011
3:40 pm

We use to run the sprinkler in the front yard. That was fun for awhile.

Back in the 60's ...

May 31st, 2011
4:03 pm

…we had affordable public pools, but they were PERMANENTLY closed for a different reason…after the fourth grade we had to either do as catlady suggests (creeks, springs, lakes, etc,) or had friends who had their own pool or belonged to the country club…

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
4:07 pm

We use to turn on the fire hydrants back in NYC. That was fun too. Not sure if they still do that because although it was fun, it wasn’t right.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

May 31st, 2011
4:16 pm

Jarvis — totally a typo — my bad!! I wrote five blogs last night and was working fast hence the mistake — so sorry for the confusion!!

jarvis

May 31st, 2011
4:21 pm

I’m good. I knew what you meant.
Any of the 5 new blogs about boob sweat? It’s about that time of year.

mom2alex&max

May 31st, 2011
4:23 pm

I don’t get the whole unsupervised thing. We joined our subdivision’s pool this summer (as we have been for a few years) and it’s a small subdivision, so it’s not ever very crowded. Yesterday, we all went. There were roughly 10 to 12 kids in the pool with various supervising adults lounging around the pool. The kids were playing games amongst themselves, organizing their own activities, having diving contests, etc. They were having a BALL. Everyone was well behaved (which is not to say that they were angels..they were having fun at the pool) and not one adult was keeping their eyes permanently glued at them. We all looked on at random intervals, and of course there was a life guard there. Everyone was relaxed and having a great time.

So what’s the big deal?

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
4:51 pm

Slthought the life guard is there, he’s not there to look after your child. He’s there to assist in the case of a drowing and unruliness. That’s your child, stop reading and pay attention to the antics of your child without the life guard cotinuously blowing his whistle to get your child to stop with the shennanigins (if any).

KoolAid House

May 31st, 2011
4:51 pm

Karma

May 31st, 2011
7:00 pm

“Lots of people are screaming “cut spending” these days. But when the spending cuts hit close to home – less policemen/firefighters, libraries closing, cuts to school programs – they scream even louder.”

Right there is your problem. Our government(s) are not cutting where they need to or can, so they are threatening the taxpaying public with those items you mentioned above. They have not fired enough non-essentaial workers and have not forced enough people off welfare and entitlement programs. We also could get illegals off the the dole as well.

Sorry, but these government(s) have a treasure trove of hidden waste they can cut but they are not doing it. Instead, they threaten the taxpayers.

Swimming pools are not an entitlement if people are PAYING to use them. I would have no problem paying more if I knew our government was doing everything they could to cut waste. They are NOT!

Guys, you have to realize the governemnt keeps feeding you BS. They are not doing all they can do to cut back and save money!

djm_NC

May 31st, 2011
8:05 pm

thank god i live where there are lakes and rivers and creeks. pools are never as refreshing and clean. and they never smell as good :)

motherjanegoose

May 31st, 2011
8:24 pm

JJ…I laughed at the Daniel story. This is one reason why some teachers have a hard time naming their own child. WE went through several names before we settled on ours. Too many had student’s names attached. I did have one student with each of my kid’s names and they were both fond memories.

My daughter told me this story last week from our trip to the beach. I was at a meeting for 2 days. An entire family was at the pool ….grandparents too. The children were all swimming and the four adults were visiting. The pool was not crowded. A small preschooler slipped out of their floating device AS QUICK AS A BLINK. The Mom yelled, to the other kids, but the Grandma dove in to pull the child up from under water. The Grandpa said, “the sign says NO DIVING…” The Grandma replied, ” you really do not have a clue what just happened…”

We pay $450 per year for our tennis courts/pavilion/pool. Since I swim about 20 times per year, that works out to $20 plus per swim…kinda high but much cheaper than having a pool in my own yard plus it tends to help the property value. I do not play tennis.

catlady, I remember swimming in the creek as a teen…we also had snakes in our creek and knew which ones to avoid. Not sure many here would be willing to share :).

motherjanegoose

May 31st, 2011
8:28 pm

@djm…not sure what you are talking about. We had cows that peed in the creek and lakes that were filthy. Of course, who can control what fish do naturally in a lake?
I much prefer a pool or will swim in the ocean but I am not too fond of the lake at all.
I will agree that ICE COLD could be considered refreshing. Our neighborhood pool is typically very clean unless we have a windy night and the petals from the flowering trees tend to land in the pool.

Jake

May 31st, 2011
9:25 pm

JJ, I really hate the name Daniel now! That would have drove me crazy. You made me laugh out loud! Everywhere you go now kids are so unsupervised.

Pool Man

May 31st, 2011
9:43 pm

You know kids pee in those pools…..yuck!

RL

May 31st, 2011
9:46 pm

Let those who use them pay for them/

JustleftATL

May 31st, 2011
11:15 pm

This is just one more thing I think is wrong with Atlanta. This is a quality of life issue. Its 95 de
grees for gods sake. Doesn,t anyone care about having a park or a pool to go to in this city? All there is to do in ATL is go to work in crazy traffic (45 minutes each way was my commute for only 10 miles) then I could figure out what strip mall I wanted to have dinner at that evening….so glad I am not there anymore

KJ

June 1st, 2011
3:32 am

THIS IS JUST ANOTHER STEP IN THE DIRECTION OF PRIVATIZATION, IT REMINDS ME OF DEREGULATION DAYS, IN THE END THE PEOPLE ALWAYS GET THE SHORT END

djm_NC

June 1st, 2011
5:53 am

MJG-the 2 lakes lake here where i live are two of the most pristine lakes in the country…that is changing though beause so many people are buying lake property and there are lots more boats on the lake than there were say 5 or more years ago, still they are beautiful, clear and COLD! the creeks too….im sure there are some areas of the creeks where animals do their thing-but most people here have fenced their property and have water from the creeks diverted into a watering container. all you have to do is go to the area where there are no pastures above…i just cant stand the smell of chlorine! it gives me a stomach ache…always did even as a child at our club we went to. my kids grew up swimming in natural waters and cant stand swimming pools. each to his own i guess. there are definately some lakes i wont swim in…yuck! im lucky i ended up where i am….we will see how long it lasts tho-of course the more people who move here and the more boats on the waters cause it to become just another dirty lake. hopefully it wont get bad too soon. there are rules on the lake as to how many boats and what kind-also no house boats are allowed.

djm_NC

June 1st, 2011
5:54 am

plus there is something about moving water that at least give the illusion of cleaner lol

motherjanegoose

June 1st, 2011
7:35 am

Yes, djm…I do understand that there are clean lakes, rivers and pools. My experience was 35 plus years ago and I am not sure the water would be cleaner. You are quite lucky to have access to clean water.

Yes, I know kids pee in pools. Our subdivision pool is monitored quite often and is closed when there is a problem. Not sure how often lakes and rivers are closed.

Too bad people cannot simply remember that others would like to enjoy things too!

@ just…I hate the traffic too but there are worse places IMHO to live. As I type, I can hear the birds singing right outside in my backyard and I looked at the hydrangeas. roses, daylillys ( sp?) and hosta blooming out there since I left and returned from Boston. I have a bird house with a nest in it and hummingbirds visiting too. I do not live downtown but in the metro.

Andrea

June 1st, 2011
8:05 am

It is a shame. Many kids drown here in the US, because they never learn how to swim. I grew up in Germany, where visiting public pools was the highlight each summer. It was where we practiced swimming, met our friends and sunbathed. Why can’t they charge a little more (i.e. offer a season pass for $50) and spend less on planting pretty flowers on highways.

commoncents

June 1st, 2011
9:08 am

If the people who use pools can’t financially support the pool, then they need to close. Many pools have more than enough people using them, therefore they should have more than enough money to run them.

If my 107-unit townhouse community HOA dues can support landscaping/gardening, all outside maintenance and our pool, I’m sure the 100+ people that use the community pools DAILY can support their operation.

sam

June 1st, 2011
10:15 am

It’s pretty easy to say let the people who use them pay fees to support the pool when you live in a community where most of the people work, have two-family incomes, own a house or condo or even an apartment where they pay HOA fees. But what of people, especially children, in opposite circumstances? For them, a swim at the community pool is the ONLY recreation they can look forward to in the summer. I grew up in a poor and working class neighborhood in Charlotte. I cannot imagine what the summers would have been without the city pool. We went at least twice a week, except when we took swinming lessons in one or two-week sessions. Then we went daily for an hour. I seem to recall paying 25 cents for admission and to get basket for our things. Our paretns never came to watch us; they were working. Instead the pool attendants and life guards watched over the children. Rules were carefully explained and strictly enforced. If you violated them, you had to go. Communities must make decisions about public support for pools based on the folks who live there. But in every community, there must always be considerations for children whose families just don’t have the ability to take them to a private pool or to pay very high fees. There should always be at least one publicly supported pool (more in larger cities) with very low admission fees. Pay now or pay later.

AtlantaFan

June 1st, 2011
10:52 am

I belong to a neighborhood swim/tennis. One of my fondeset memories growing up was spending lazy days at the pool(after morning swim team practice) and cool afternoons at the library. I hate that we don’t have the resources to support both. Otherwise we raise kids addicted to TV and video games.

So What

June 1st, 2011
11:38 am

Hey Mom of 1, mostly the ones screaming about cuts do not pay taxes!@

Pool Lady

June 1st, 2011
11:52 am

Our neighborhood pool in Lilburn, GA is struggling to stay open because we must compete with the Gwinnett County pools who can offer so much more due to being subsidized by the taxpayers. Our pool is under-used but we are open 8 am to 11 pm seven days a week and you even get your own key so you can come and go as you please. We have opened up our membership area to cover over 500 homes and still cannot get the 80 families we need to fund our annual operating budget. Even at a cost of $330 a year for the entire family. We have advertised on the web, we have a Facebook page (HRC Pool and Tennis) and still cannot draw people in because we have to compete with County Aquatic Centers. If these centers were forced to charge enough to cover their expenses, it would be more of a level playing field for privately-owned community pools.

JJ

June 1st, 2011
12:23 pm

I’d close a community pool before I cut the pay of police officers, firefighters and anyone in the military.

djm_NC

June 2nd, 2011
6:04 am

MJG-actually i wasnt totally dissing pools…some of my great teenage memories are of the club we belonged to…eating breakfast..doing chores and then the pool all day til it closed! after living here for so many years tho i have come to prefer the fast moving creeks and the cold clear lakes…there are lakes i would never swim in!! there is one not too far away, that everytime i took my kids swimming there my youngest would get an ear infection….we stopped going there when i put it all together. she never got one from swimming up here. as much as i liked the pool experience as a kid i always hated that chlorine smell and the fact that it hurt my eyes. and made my stomach hurt. i know everyone doesnt have access to clean lakes and creeks…and i hate that kids are not getting to go swimming due to budget cuts. i cant even imagine living in atlanta with its hot humid weather and not having a place to swim and cool off!!

Swim Teacher at Gwinnett Pools

June 2nd, 2011
4:07 pm

Everybody remember the bad drought days and gas at $4 a gallon? I do and I can’t imagine what life would have been like in Gwinnett County if our young people didn’t have an outlet to escape the heat and burn off their energy. The county pools provided relief for many people during a hot and miserable summer.

Swim for your Life

June 2nd, 2011
5:38 pm

As a citizen of Gwinnett County and a “frequent swimmer” I have found a home in the Gwinnett County Pool System. Now as a senior, I swim laps every day having swam competitively in the past from age group through college and masters. Although not my primary career, I worked in the past as a lifeguard, instructor, coach, and pool manager. I would put Gwinnett County pools above most private pools and “Y” programs for quality of facility and personnel from lifeguard on up through management.

I think Gwinnett County is doing a good job and would hate to see the pools privatized. Gwinnett appears to be doing better than other counties covering their costs. I know most of us would be willing to pay more to keep our pools open, both for passes and cash swims.

Year round pools are the most important because they are frequented by those who swim for health and take classes. How many lives have been saved by children who took classes and later were able to swim to safety because they learned to swim at a pool? There are many swimmers (with a large number being seniors) who swim laps for their health or take the aqua aerobic classes; for many of these people, this is all that they can do for exercise, especially the physically challenged. This then becomes a health and safety issue, not a recreational one. Gwinnett County is providing lifelong health and safety for its citizens in a quality way.

Carol Roussie

June 2nd, 2011
11:58 pm

I truly believe the pools should remain open, as we seniors need to use them to maintain health, when physical problems keep you from exercising in other ways. I think if the pools are run more efficiently, and with more incentives to use the pools, I think there would not be such deficits. Has anyone thought of selling pool time in the form of gift certificates. Or joining the “Silver Sneakers” programs, which would pay more than you are now getting from most seniors. Have open discussions with people who use the pools regularly and they should be able to give you ideas that no one seems to think about. We, who use the pool egularly, get to see the things from a different perspective. I would even consider volunteering a certain amount of hours per week or month to help out and I know there would be others that would be willing to do the same.

Fred Martich

June 3rd, 2011
9:55 am

As a retiree, I swim laps every day at the Mountain Park Aquatics Center. The staff is always very helpful, especially Janice (front desk) and Bill (custodian.) I urge the County Commissioners to keep the pool open for daytime hours. Thank you

John Zeigler

June 3rd, 2011
4:58 pm

I have been a regular lap swimmer in the indoor county pools since 1980 at the old bubble pool at Mountain Park. I swim 6 days a week at Collins Hill & Mt. Park. I swam over 600 miles in 2010. The maintance costs to secure and maintain unused pools is not cheap, so staying open may not involve a large amount of extra funds. I retired 7 years ago and swam in Atlanta 5 days a week while working. Travel to Atlanta now will be expensive. Gwinnett County High Schools have some of the best swimmers in Georgia lately and displacing a thousand swimmers in the Fall high school season will be a nightmare for school swimming and very expensive to bus the students outside the county for practice time daily. I am with the Georgia Masters Swimming and run two masters meets yearly at Mt. Park and Collins Hill pools on a Sunday morning. My 280 age Georgia Masters Mens Medley Relay was first in the world for 2010 and the adult masters’ swimming participants know about Georgia swimming.

Nancy Grant

June 4th, 2011
2:58 pm

I love to swim! I swim for recreation as well as health. Swimming really helps arthritis, after a few laps in the pool at West Gwinnet which I try to do three to four times a week I feel like a new woman, aches and pains are gone.
As a result of swimming laps a year ago I was recruited to swim with US Masters and won medals in national competition.
I also participate in water aerobics at West Gwinnet, Kathy is an excellent instructor, there are many seniors who come to these classes.
It would be a great loss to many if we could not swim and exercise in the pool.

Brian Siegmund

June 4th, 2011
11:38 pm

Swimming is not just easy on your joints, it may help you live longer than other forms of exercise. A Univ of South Carolina study showed that, compared with running, walking, or staying sedentary, swimming reduced men’s risk of dying from various diseases by as much as 50%. Researchers tracked more than 40,000 men over 32 years and found that regular swimmers had higher levels of aerobic fitness than walkers for example. Though their study followed men, the doctors believed that women would benefit similiarly from swimming. CDC said in an article that swimming is the third most popular sports activity in the U.S. and a good way to get aerobic physical activity. This can also lead to improved health for people with diabetes and heart disease. Exercising in water offers many physical and mental health benefits and is a good choice for people who want to be more active. My wife and I started swimming when we retired and noticed that within a few months we had both lost a significant amount of excess weight, we had become much stronger in the arms and legs, our back pain became less and less, and we felt much healthier overall.

As retired senior citizens, we can honestly say that lap swimming every day has made a huge diference in our lives — both in the way we feel everyday, and our overall good health and absence of health related health problems. Since we have had back and knee problems in the past, swimming is the best overall exercise we can do, and many of our friends share the same testimony. And another side benefit is that we have met some great people with great attitudes that are trying to do something with their lives to keep fit and we get to see and interface with them regularly.

Both of us can testify that the benefits to be realized by the wonderful Gwinnett County pools are immeasurable. Gwinnett County government and its citizens can be very proud of the fact that they have one of, if not THE best, recreational programs in the Nation and this is especially true for the Aquatic Centers. We need to keep these pools operating at all costs, especially during the time when our Nation is fighting health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other problems from a lack of proper exercise and diet. Water-based exercise can help people with chronic diseases. For people with arthritis, it improves use of affected joints without worsening symptoms. I retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and my wife from the Emory School of Public Health, and we are well aware of these critical health problems that face our Nation. CDC feels that this issue is so critical, that they have devoted an entire website to this at http://www.healthyswimming.org/.

Lets all pull together and keep Gwinnett County citizens healthier by continuing to offer and support these fantastic indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities for its residents.