It is great that BREC is seeking to include community dialogue on revitalization options for parks.
Two proposals are touted as options for aquatic recreation at Anna T. Jordan Community Park. The two possible upgrades to the park are to replace the antiquated existing swimming pool with a splash pad or replacing the pool with a new modernized pool.
Without a doubt, the Anna T. Jordan swimming pool should be rebuilt. Though it is a fact that I spent every summer at the park’s swimming pool with my siblings and cousins, my reason for supporting the rebuild effort has to do with inner-city children being exposed to water safety.
Last summer, my niece and nephew took swimming lessons at Anna T. Jordan, as did several other children residing throughout the parish, including Zachary. So there is a great appreciation for the swimming pool.
The minority swimming gap has deep roots in America’s racial history. For decades during the 20th century, many pools were segregated, and relatively few were built to serve black communities. A startling study by USA Swimming finds one particular group is most at risk: African-American children. In the study, African Americans said there were problems with access to pools and that swimming lessons could be too expensive.
Kids in the Scotlandville community really need a swimming pool in their “own back yard” so to speak. The Anna T. Jordan swimming pool allows for children and adults to take part in a family recreation that is very cheap, about $1.25 per person to swim.
It is critically important that BREC rebuilds the Anna T. Jordan swimming pool, staffed with reliable workers, sets operating hours and promotes its benefits. However, it is equally as important that our schools, churches, businesses, nonprofits, day cares and residents in the Scotlandville and surrounding area support the pool.
Children of color particularly need the life skill of swimming that they will not acquire with a splash pad. When children find themselves in a large body of water, splashing will drown them — swimming will save them.
I encourage secondary schools in the area to include swimming as a course offering, and child-care centers to teach children as young as 3 to start learning the basics. There’s a tendency to believe that swimming is only recreational. However, lives can truly be lost as a result of not knowing this important lesson and life skill.
metro councilwoman-District 2
Copyright © 2014, Capital City Press LLC • 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810 • All Rights Reserved