I plan to vote "yes" for building an aquatic/tennis center in Columbia County. What a great addition to our community this would be. Not only is swimming a great form of exercise for all ages, but it is an excellent competitive sport for our children.
Our family has been involved with swimming, both summer league and year-round, for more than eight years and have personally experienced the sport's growth here as well as in other municipalities. We believe an aquatic center would not only be a nice addition to the county and something that all families could enjoy, but it could also generate tax revenue from visiting swimmers and tennis players from all over the Southeastern region.
Most people don't realize that swimming is a year-round sport. There is no off-season, except perhaps a couple of weeks at the end of summer. Numerous times each year, we travel to meets along with hundreds of other families in the Southeastern region to participate in swimming events - on average, about one meet per month.
Swim events normally last anywhere from two to four days for most, some lasting up to five days and drawing hundreds of families, all of whom stay in local hotels and eat at local restaurants. Each year the Aiken-Augusta Swim League holds several large meets at the Augusta Aquatic Center. Next March, ASL will host the Georgia State Age Group Championships and will bring in swimmers and families from all over the state of Georgia.
With the right facility, the Augusta region, specifically Columbia County, could enjoy some of the tax revenue generated by visiting swimmers and their families. The right facility should include a 50-meter pool that can convert into "short course" or 25-yard lanes, similar to the current aquatic center. Without a "long course" or 50-meter pool, the new aquatic center could not hold long-course events and would miss out on the entire long-course season. If we build one, lets build it right the first time.
Imagine an aquatic/tennis center with an Omni Fitness-type workout area along with a gymnastics area for our local gymnasts. Wow! How many families and singles would a facility such as this appeal to?
Some think that only competitive swimmers from the local high schools and swim clubs will use the pool. I believe the pool will and can be used by any person of any age seeking to improve his or her physical condition. On a recent morning, I swam at the Augusta Aquatic Center for the first time in many months and was delighted to see the number of senior citizens and other non-competitive swimmers using the pool simply as a form of exercise. And what a great way to exercise! Go check out the local Y or visit the Aquatic Center or Fort Gordon pool and I guarantee you'll see people from all walks of life and in all forms of physical conditioning swimming for enjoyment and exercise.
I love to play golf, but I think we have enough golf stuff in the area. Build the pool!
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