Southside Recreation Center in Valdosta needs help renovating community pool

Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 5:06 PM EDT
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VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - A Lowndes County organization needs your help rebuilding its community pool.

The pool has been unused for nine years. It’s the biggest pool in the county and there’s none like it in the part of town it’s in.

Southside recreation center needs help to rebuild pool area.
Southside recreation center needs help to rebuild pool area.(WALB)
Southside recreation center needs help to rebuild pool area.
Southside recreation center needs help to rebuild pool area.(WALB)

Organizers want to fix this and the pool house so the community and kids can finally enjoy it.

“We worked on this pool like I said, ever since it stopped working because it’s such an important thing for this community to have this swimming pool here. This swimming pool is the reason why Southside is here,” said Rachel Bradley, who works at the center.

Founded in 1964, Southside Recreation Center is one of the oldest community nonprofit organizations in Lowndes County.

It was created for African-American youth before desegregation. There was no recreation facility or pools for them during that time.

Bradley said she wants children to have the same experience she did growing up.

“This is where I came, this is where most of the people who are my age or a little older (also came). Most of all, those people have had a connection with Southside because this is all we had. There was no other place for us to be,” said Bradley.

Relying primarily on donations from community partners, efforts to restore the pool in the past decade have failed or been delayed because of uprising issues.

“I’m so passionate about opening this pool because I grew up here. I learned how to swim here. So, we had lots of fun and I want all the kids in the community to have the same fun I had growing up,” said Bradley.

Once fixed, the pool house will include a concession area, bathrooms and changing rooms.

They plan to do swimming lessons, water exercises and provide a place where families can come and enjoy once everything is fixed.

Southside recreation center officials and city/ county leaders.
Southside recreation center officials and city/ county leaders.(WALB)

“I ride by here a lot and look over and it bothers me to see this place not operational. I would like to see the parking lot full and I would like to see kids out here enjoying themselves and I think the community would as well,” Cody Radney, owner of The Cody Store, said.

Radney spearheaded this fundraising campaign with the first monetary donation.

He’s encouraging other businesses to pitch in.

The organization hopes to have the area ready for use by the summer, but they’re going to need a lot of help.

If you would like to donate, click here. Any company interested in helping can also call the center at (229) 242-6764.

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