Two children learn to swim at the Spartanburg Swim Center. (March 19, 2012/FOX Carolina)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Dozens of people packed a room at a Spartanburg church for a meeting about the possible closing of a local swim center and nearby community center.
Last week, Spartanburg city planners recommended closing the T.K. Gregg Center on Oakland Avenue and the Swim Center on Church Street. They said the money saved by closing the centers would be used to build a new facility within the next few years.
Officials said the Swim Center averages about 2,000 visitors per month, but two-thirds of those visits are by non-city residents.
Planners said the aquatic center costs nearly $500,000 to run each year, and it is in need of millions more in repairs. They said those costs will only go up, and will eventually consume a majority of the money the city has dedicated to quality-of-life expenses.
Also, planners said the T.K. Gregg Center has seen fewer visitors as businesses move in and families move out. They said it needs about $3 million in repairs.
On Monday night, dozens of people went to the Bethel United Methodist church to learn more about the proposed closures, and some of them wanted to speak out against it.
Colleen Miller has taught classes at the pool for years and is the head of a competitive swim team based at the center. She said she understands money is tight, but all options should be considered before closing down the center.
"I think there needs to be a collaboration of efforts between the city, county, school districts, private sector and the public," Miller said. " I think you would have enough support to finance this building. No, it's not a state-of-the-art pool, but it's water and it's open to the public."
City leaders have said the public's input would weigh heavily on their final decision.
So many people showed up at Monday's meeting that some were turned away at the door.
Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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