Beckley, WV – (WWNR) – A group of about 30 people rallied at Beckley’s City Hall Tuesday to protest the closing of the city’s two swimming pools.
Last week, parks and recreation officials announced that the Sharon Dempsey pool, formerly the New River Park pool and the Historic Black Knight pool, would not open for the 2023 season. The city blamed the closures on failure to find a pool manager with certifications for lifeguard and CPR/first aid.
Many at the rally felt that the city doesn’t view the pools as a priority, but they hope that by making their voices heard, they can get the pools reopened.
“Fortunately, there are people who do care in our community,” said Brian Brown, a local realtor and businessman, “and are excited to mobilize to make sure that a wrong is righted.”
“There’s not a lot for kids to do in this community anyway. It’s a worthwhile outlet. It gives kids an access to sporting activities, as well as the health benefits of swimming. Without those pools, a lot of kids don’t have access to a swimming pool any time of the year. And that’s there one opportunity to learn a lifesaving skill.”
“We have a community as small as Princeton, West Virginia that’s able to open its pool every single year. But it continues to be a problem for Beckley.”
Organizers of Tuesday’s rally hope that residents will talk to the mayor and city council about the pools and will attend the next City Council meeting on April 25th.