Pool lovers were evenly divided over where a new aquatic center should be located in west Greenville.
Parks planner Mark Nottingham talked with 21 people at the Greenville Community Pool on Wednesday to get their feedback on whether a new aquatics center should be located on city-owned property along Albemarle Avenue or the Eppes Recreation Center/Thomas Foreman Park located on Nash Street.
A second survey is scheduled for 1:30-4:30 p.m. on Saturday at the pool. An online survey should go up in the next week and a virtual community meeting is planned for the future.
“It’s a community pool. It’s a large expenditure of public dollars so whenever we do that we like the public’s input,” Nottingham said.
The existing pool, which is nearly 50 years old, is starting to deteriorate and would need costly renovations. Its current Myrtle Avenue location isn’t large enough to expand facilities.
The city wants to build an outdoor aquatics center featuring a lap pool and recreation pool with play equipment and zero depth entry. It’s also proposed that the facility have shade areas, locker rooms and a possible concession stand.
“It is good for the kids, so the kids will have something new to do,” said Jamie Andrews, who had brought his 4-year-old granddaughter, Chasity Clark, to the existing community pool on Myrtle Avenue.
“Kids love water,” Andrews said. “We come every chance we get, when we get time off work, we try to do things with her.”
He liked the idea of shade areas and the play equipment proposed for the recreation pool.
“I wish I had that when I was a kid,” Andrews said.
The two locations both have positives and negatives, Nottingham said.
The Albemarle Avenue site is a large, flat grassy area that is open, he said. However it’s in the city’s former tobacco warehouse district and property there has been contaminated in the past, he said. Also, accessing Albemarle might not be as easy as accessing the Eppes center, which is off Memorial Drive and West Fifth Street.
Along with easier access, the Eppes center already has facilities and amenities on sight, Nottingham said. Since that facility is being renovated, construction of the pool can be carried out at the same time. However, those existing facilities may make it difficult to locate the pool on the property.
An engineering survey is planned to identify problems at each location.
The Jackie Robinson Baseball League has a facility on the Eppes center property.
League President Frankie Atkinson and treasurer Norma Warren said the Eppes center/Foreman Park location was their choice because children already use the facility’s baseball field, basketball courts, gymnasium and recreation center.
“Bringing the swimming pool there will make it all-inclusive,” Warren said.
Atkinson said it also would be easier for children living in Moyewood and other surrounding neighborhoods to access a facility at Eppes.
They suggested that Notthingham consider identifying the Eppes Center site with the Jackie Robinson League baseball field. They said more people recognize the location by that name than as the Eppes center.
Kristian Dawson-Chadwick, whose son is a former Jackie Robinson League player, said she preferred the Eppes center as the new location.
“Driving on N.C. 11, coming into Greenville and seeing something like that, it will be beautiful,” she said.