Citizens speak out for public pool

Several New Albany residents and local citizens continued to push the city toward constructing a public pool Tuesday at the New Albany Board of Aldermen meeting.

Both Hazel Ivy and Ninabeth Capaning read letters addressed to the board expressing the need for a public pool.


The letters were in response to recent concern of the need for a public pool, in light of  questions whether Baptist-Union County would close the pool at its Healthplex.

Ivy, along with Charles Ferrell, Jonathan Tucker, Brody McKenzie, Charles Harris and Dorothy Harris addressed the need in light of a lack of swimming knowledge among African Americans.  In their letter, ready by Ivy at the meeting, the group cited an ABC World News Sunday report which stated that a large number of African American children do not know how to swim and are three times more likely to drown than white children.

“This special pointed us to a survey of low income, mostly minority children, at the YMCA in six cities that found that 70 percent of African American children and 58 percent of Latino children have low or no swimming abilities compared to 40 percent white children,” Ivy said.

According to the report, Ivy said the number one and number two reasons for this group not knowing how to swim were a lack of access to pools where they live and fear of water.

“We urge you to give our blacks and other low-income children an opportunity to learn to swim in a safe environment,” Ivy said.

Capaning read a letter written by Pediatric doctor Veronica Wiseman which stated that a public swimming pool would offer local children more chances to increase physical activity, in light of the obesity rate in the state of Mississippi.

“Adult obesity rate for our state is 33.8 percent and childhood state obesity rate is 21 percent,” Wiseman wrote.  “Our physical environment and the lifestyle priorities and practices that we will teach our children will greatly improve the health and well being of our future generation.”

Wiseman went on to state that prevention is the key.

“Creaion of a city pool is one that our city needs to work on,” Wiseman said.  “A city pool would be the perfect place to keep them active, physically and socially as part of our city’s comprehensive behavioral intervention program for the prevention of childhood obesity.”

Ward Three Alderman Tommie Beasley said that he was in support of constructing a city pool.

“I assure you I will take it personally and seriously,” he told Ivy in front of the meeting’s audience.  “I am very concerned about it.”