Local wellness center pool to close; Members fighting for it’s survival
“It’s a daily fight to keep moving because of the arthritis, my diabetes, and everything like that and so taking away the pool from me would just kind of crush me,”
LIMESTONE CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Athens-Limestone Hospital has plans to close its Wellness Center pool just before the new year. The pool has been there for more than 22 years, and closing it has many Limestone County residents upset and fighting to keep it open.
Hospital president Traci Collins said in a statement less than 100 members use the pool on a regular basis, while the cost of maintaining and operating the pool has grown prohibitive, saying new repairs and equipment would cost around $270,000. To some, the pool is their best therapy.
“If I didn’t have the water, I wouldn’t be able to do the exercises that I do. It’s a daily fight to keep moving because of the arthritis, my diabetes, and everything like that and so taking away the pool from me would just kind of crush me,” said member Grace Turner.
The hospital offered members the option to use the Madison Wellness Center pool. George Canfield’s wife had a major stroke, and he says he can’t drive that far away and leave her that long.
“So with that in mind, it’s either Athens or it’s nothing for us,” said Canfield.
Laura Lynn Kerner started a petition to keep the pool open with hundreds of signatures, and even put together a book of people’s testimony on what the pool means to them.
“They just kept coming! It’s more for our reaching than just the people that actually go to the wellness center, it extends to the family and the impact on the family,” said Kerner.
And, these members are not giving up.
“I’m willing to support fundraisers, I’m willing to support any effort that the people are willing to support here,” said Canfield.
As of now, there are no definite plans for what would happen to the pool space in the building when closed.
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