Magazine article Public Management

Hot Stuff: About Swimming Pools 2003

Magazine article Public Management

Hot Stuff: About Swimming Pools 2003

Article excerpt

It's the time of year to begin preparing for summer activities and, like last year, the December issue of Public Management (PM) magazine contains a section on swimming pools that are owned and operated by local governments. In the July issue, managers were invited to share pool stories and photos. Here are the contributions that the magazine received.

Atlanta, Georgia

On July 4, 2002, the Chastain Park Pool reopened under public/private partnership with the city of Atlanta. Now called the North Atlanta Swim Association, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation, a group of community volunteers oversees the operation of the facility.

Chastain Park pool is located among 158 acres of green space that includes a public golf course and tennis courts, horse park, exercise path, nature trails, recreation center/gym, playground, picnic areas, and ball fields. During the past five years, much of the area has been revitalized. The pool, however, was neglected and was shut down in early 2002 by the city.

The North Atlanta Swim Association (NASA) was formed to promote aquatic sports/safety, and its first initiative was to "save the pool." NASA obtained the lease for the pool and grounds by unanimous vote of the Atlanta City Council and support of the mayor's office.

Through hundreds of volunteer hours beginning in late spring 2002, the pool and grounds were repaired, cleaned, and spruced up. A professional pool management company was hired and the pool reopened on July 4 with a budget of $50,000 for the remainder of the summer.


This past spring saw numerous improvements. The fencing has been upgraded, grounds have been landscaped by volunteers, new outdoor lights were donated by a corporation, shower facilities were improved, pool furniture was contributed by an apartment complex, and concession refrigerators were provided by neighbors. The list of improvements goes on.

Chastain Pool now has a swim team called the Tidal Waves. Although some 70 swimmers were expected to sign up, when the number hit 185 it became clear the community was eager to support this neighborhood facility. Swim lessons are provided for children and adults, underscoring the concern for safety.

The pool is unique for several reasons. First, it is huge--with 520,000 gallons of water! Divided into three sections, it has an extremely large deep end, eight 25-yard lap lanes in the middle, and a gradually declining shallow end.

Second, this is one of the few pools in the Atlanta area that is run by a public/private partnership. NASA offers memberships to families, individuals, and senior citizens, and it is free to the public for limited hours.

Even though the first season opened late, 185 households joined and 7,000 swimmers came through the gates. This season, there were 250 household memberships and almost double the number of attendees. Counted in these numbers are day camps, including Camp Best Friends, a program for inner-city children run by the city of Atlanta.

The pool, which was built in the 1930s, has a rich history. There is a legend among native Atlantans that the pool is spring fed. In the 1950s, the best swimmers from Havana, Cuba, competed with Atlanta in the "Havlanta Games" in this facility.

People who grew up swimming in this pool are grateful to see it revitalized and used by many families and lap swimmers again. NASA is committed to continuing its progress and providing quality programs for the community.

--Caroline King

Executive Director


Greater Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

Opened in 1997, Aquamoves is an approximately $6.5 million indoor aquatics and leisure center that incorporates an existing outdoor pool complex. Located on the western foreshore of the Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton, the center provides visitors with a complete range of facilities. …

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