Gaffney mayor: "Abandonment" of Irene pool based on race - FOX Carolina 21

Gaffney mayor: "Abandonment" of Irene pool based on race

Posted: Updated:
Irene Pool, abandoned since 2012 (FOX Carolina) Irene Pool, abandoned since 2012 (FOX Carolina)
Mayor Henry Jolly sits down with FOX Carolina's Andrew Reeser to discuss his recent comments on the pool (FOX Carolina) Mayor Henry Jolly sits down with FOX Carolina's Andrew Reeser to discuss his recent comments on the pool (FOX Carolina)
Marcus Bradley, director of Cherokee Recreation District, said the pool is too costly to repair, and the closing was not racially motivated (FOX Carolina) Marcus Bradley, director of Cherokee Recreation District, said the pool is too costly to repair, and the closing was not racially motivated (FOX Carolina)
GAFFNEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

A once-popular swimming pool in Gaffney that closed in 2012 is the subject of some controversy. 

Newly re-elected Mayor Henry Jolly said Thursday during a candidate forum with the Cherokee County Chapter of the NAACP that he believed the Irene Pool was closed in 2012 because it was mostly used by African-Americans and poor white children. The Cherokee Recreation District, which has since pushed for the building of a new facility, said that is not the case. 

Marcus Bradley, director of the Cherokee Recreation District, said he badly wants a new pool, but added it is not economically feasible to fix the problems with the current Irene Pool. Built in 1957, the pool closed four years ago due to cracks that threatened its integrity. 

"It was a crack that could collapse the walls," said Bradley. "We want a new pool and we want a new pool badly. Yes, there will be another swimming pool one of these days, because I am gonna work with the mayor," he added.

Mayor Jolly stood by his comments in an interview with FOX Carolina, saying he believes Cherokee Recreation District, which oversees both city and county parks in Gaffney and Cherokee County, turned its back on the facility. 

"The reason I believe that to be true was because it was only used by the socioeconomic lower-class whites and the black community," said Jolly. 

He said those comments, though made to the NAACP, were not a part of a political pandering maneuver on the eve of the general election. 

"The recreation district abandoned one of our best parks," he said. 

Jolly said the city provides funding for the Cherokee Recreation District, adding the funds should be used specifically to rehabilitate the run-down Irene pool. 

Bradley said the Cherokee Recreation District is hoping to gain funding from the county and city to build a bigger, better indoor facility to be enjoyed by both citizens and tourists alike. He said repairs on the Irene pool would be too costly with little return, adding up to more than half a million dollars. 

Copyright 2016 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

Powered by Frankly
Fox Carolina
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, WHNS; Greenville, SC. (A Meredith Corporation Station) . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.