East Albany pool proposed, "to save lives" - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

East Albany pool proposed, "to save lives"

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -  Following the drowning death of a 13 year old boy in Albany last week, a city commissioner is proposing building another city pool.  He says it's needed to save lives.  
City Commissioner Jon Howard points out there are a large number of children in East Albany that have absolutely no swimming training.  And he is concerned that will lead to more drowning tragedies.

 13 year old Zhyir Johnson died Saturday evening after he was pulled from a private pool in East Albany.  City commissioner Jon Howard said the boy's death points out why he is so dedicated to getting a public pool in East Albany.

 Howard said "Particularly for the young males that probably can't swim. Will learn how to swim."

At the Albany City Carver Pool in South Albany, lifesaving swimming lessons are taught almost daily.

 Swimming instructor Antoine Thomas said "It's imperative that we teach these kids how to swim.  Because they like to go out in the summertime and be around in the lakes.  What if something was to happen when they are by themself."

Howard has proposed building the pool on city property between the Thornton Community Center and the East Albany Police precinct. The city wants to make it a strong youth center.

Howard said "There could be some future potential that this site would be a collaborative effort with the Boys and Girls Club. A strong possibility that a Boys Club could be in the near future built on this site right here."

With a pool staffed with swimming instructors, to help kids learn at least the basics of water survival.

Thomas said "We'll teach you techniques to get you out of the water. Out of the pool.  To get back to the shore safely."

Howard said the East Albany pool is in the planning stage now, and would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and staff.  But Howard said it's effect would be priceless.

Howard said "You can't put a monetary amount on a life, right."

Howard said city staff is now studying the East Albany pool proposal.  Swim instructors say most people drown along the side of a pool....because they panic and can't climb out.  They say they can teach kids not to panic in the water, and learn how to get out alive.

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