… I have been a resident of Buncombe County for 24 years and have raised two children here. It is a great community to live and raise children. I have seen needed soccer centers come about, hiking and biking trails built, and the development of child-friendly parks. I believe it is now time to put a new aquatic center on the front burner. The Zeugner Center and the Rec Park pools are on their last legs.
As you all know, swimming is such an enjoyable sport. It is an excellent way to stay active and healthy throughout one’s lifetime. We need a countywide modern aquatic center. I read last year that money earmarked for an aquatics center had to be diverted over the past decade to build a jail, revamp the courthouse and other priorities. I realize that there are multiple other needs within this community, but as a former public health nurse, prevention is key.
Swimming, diving and boating safety are skills that can be used a lifetime to prevent accidents around the water, to build self-confidence and endurance and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This in effect will make a healthier community.
If you look at the Greensboro Aquatic Center website, www.greensboroaquaticcenter.com, it states, “The Greensboro Aquatic Center is a regional, multipurpose, competitive aquatic facility that opened in September 2011. … It has emerged as one of the top aquatic venues in the nation in its first year. … It hosted 36 meets over its first year. … The economic impact of these and other events has been a tremendous boon to the local economy, generating an estimated economic impact of more than $41 million (source: Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau).”
Ideally, I envision a cooperative effort by the county, the city and the school system to build an aquatic center in an area near [the] A-B Tech campus or the Rivers Art District on a bus line that is easily accessible to all people. I envision student internships utilizing allied health, business, hospitality and tourism majors.
I want to bring this vital issue back into current discussions and plans. It will require a monumental effort by all parties involved — the county, city and schools — to see this become a reality. We will soon be losing a whole generation of swimmers. Please do something now. Attend the Asheville City Council meeting Tuesday, May 17, at 5 p.m. It is open for public comment on the budget. Begin this year.
— Maureen Quinn