Voters to decide whether community pool is built

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - School improvements aren't the only thing on the ballot in Dorchester District Two on November 6th, voters will also have the chance to approve funding for a new community pool. Supporters say there's a lifesaving need to prevent drownings, and the YMCA is partnering with the district to teach all second graders how to swim.

The proposed pool would be built at the YMCA's property off Old Trolley Road at Travelers Blvd. in Summerville.

"We're going to teach every second grader to swim through the school year. For an extra $2 a year you're saving a kids life. That's a pretty good deal," YMCA CEO Gary Lukridge said.

To make the aquatic center a reality, in November voters must say "Yes 4 Schools" on the ballot. That means approving a property tax increase; a $179 million referendum to build new schools and an additional $7.5 million for the aquatic center.

"We actually have two different pools. One is a competition pool, 25 meter by 25 yard pool. Then we have what we call the more warm water pool where it's more therapeutic. Also we'll have slides and buckets for the kids to use, so it's more family friendly. It's something that the whole community can use," Lukridge said.

If the school district gets the support to build the facility, the YMCA says it would then pay for all of the daily operating costs. The  "Y" would also offer  water therapy and aerobics classes, and have the ability to host large scale swim meets with up to 700 spectators, which they say would splash cash back into the Summerville economy.

"That offers two opportunities for the community. One for the school system to offer some sort of physical activity for the students, and then of course seniors and people in the community can use that facility for physical fitness as well," voter Ronna Toombes said.

Other people are concerned that many voters don't know enough about the referendum to get the needed support.

"They'll vote no. Absolutely. That's the easy way," voter Lenore McKenna said.

Voters who want to support the community pool must first vote yes for the district's building plan. That would mean an additional $70 more in property taxes a year for someone who owns a $100,000 home.