COLUMBUS, Ga. – 45 hours a week- that’s how long the Columbus City Council has voted to keep the Aquatic Center operational.
And that decision does not sit well with some swimming advocates who are coming forward with their concerns for the future of the Natatorium.
Swimming Advocate Genia Webb says, “She’s in college today and I know it’s because of her swimming.”
Webb explains why she is so passionate about swimming and the Columbus Aquatic Center – it changed her daughter’s life for the better.
Sometimes referred to as “the Pool Lady” – Webb helped to get the Natatorium built in 2011
Her name is on the brochure for Columbus Citizens for a Natatorium – an initiative that started in 2007.
“Our pool bar none is one of the nicest facilities in the state of Georgia that a city has.”
Webb thought her time working with area swim teams was over – until last year when a city council member asked her to serve on the Aquatic Center Task Force .
The goal was to come up with a way to keep the pool open and running at 89 hours a week – instead of 45.
The city says it doesn’t have enough money.
Webb says she’s no longer on the task force because she says there were several members representing one local swim team and the decisions were being made in their best interests.
“That one group has asked the city for an office at the pool, they want to run the concession stand, they want to give swim lessons.”
Webb says she knew there were swim meets going on at the Aquatic Center – but didn’t understand why Aquatic Center was only making roughly $200,000 a year.
She says according to a 2014 tax document – this is public information for 501(c)3 organizations – one swim club had $296,000 in revenues.
“I was shocked when I found out how much money that one club was bringing in and we’ve got Parks and Rec people that could lose their jobs.”
An official USA Swimming referee – Debra Skinner – regularly runs meets at the Aquatic Center.
She says sometimes the meets dont’ make any money at all.
And when it comes to the Aquatic Center – she doesn’t believe it should be expected to be a revenue generator.