New pool planned for Southside
by David Lazenby
Nov 20, 2011 | 1911 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to make good on a promise Jasper officials made to city residents several years ago after the Southside Pool was closed due to structural concerns, the city plans to build a new swimming pool near the former facility.

The city has budgeted $250,000 in capital outlay for the construction of the new pool as part of an improvement project for James A. Cox Park which is adjacent to the Percy L. Goode Community Center located off of 28th Street East that is also known as Frisco Gym.

The Jasper City Council is expected to vote at its Dec. 6 meeting on the proposed annual budget that contains the capital outlay. If approved, the new pool and other amenities are expected to be constructed by May.

Southside Pool, which was built more than 50 years ago in the Coke Oven community, was filled in with concrete about four years ago because of concerns that the pool could collapse.

Jasper Council President Sandi Sudduth said city officials chose not to build at the original site of the Southside Pool because there was not enough room for future growth.

“We were landlocked,” she said.

The location selected was also chosen because it will allow swimmers to use the gym’s rest rooms and concession facilities.

The new aquatic center is also is expected to have a children’s’ pool that will be near the existing splash pad.

The Walker Area Community Foundation has pledged $20,000 to be used for the facility, according to Jasper city officials.

The pool’s dimensions will be 20-feet wide, 75-feet long and up to 8-feet deep — the same dimensions as the Southside Pool.

The improvement plan also calls for constructing a quarter-mile walking trail north of the community center and a fenced in pavilion that will be available to be rented for private functions.

Also there will be a plaque with information pertaining to the historic significance of the original site of Southside Pool.

Willie Moore III, the assistant director of the city’s Park and Recreation department, said he believes the Jasper community is excited about plans for the James A. Cox Park.

He also said swimming lessons offered at the new pool will help children who reside in the southern portion of the city learn a skill that can be a matter of life or death.

“That’s a big necessity,” he said. “You’re always hearing about kids drowning ... especially in the African-American community.”

Moore added that the new facility will be managed by workers currently employed by the city.

Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said the project will be paid for over a 10-year period.

“We promised the community three years ago that we were going to close that pool, and as soon as we could, rebuild it,” Posey said. “What we’re doing is keeping a promise.”