RICHMOND HILL, GA (WTOC) - UPDATE: Parents and students gathered Tuesday night at the Bryan County Commission meeting, begging for a new swimming space in south Bryan County.
Right now, the group is just in the conceptual stage, but they are hoping to be moving forward in soon.
Commissioners agreed with the group. These Bryan County swimmers need an adequate facility to practice, but some aren’t offering their full support until they see full plans.
If you want your kids in Richmond Hill to be on the swim team, it comes with some costs. Either send them to a local four-lane swimming pool that’s struggling to accommodate everyone’s needs, or spend most of your afternoon carpooling to Savannah.
“To sit in a carpool for 30 minutes so they can get their kids, drive 45 minutes in traffic, sit there for two hours while the kids are swimming, drive back 45 minutes to an hour," said Andie Bradshaw, Richmond Hill parent.
The sport is simply growing in Bryan County. Swim lessons have tripled, swim teams have doubled, business is growing, and they’re simply running out of space.
The parents were not the only active group at Tuesday’s commissioner’s meeting. Richmond Hill swimmers sat through the two-hour meeting to show support for the facility they need.
“You can’t even swim butterfly in the Richmond Hill lanes. There’s such a small space in the lanes. That’s why I’ve gone to Savannah, too.”
“I’m still a Richmond Hill swimmer. Yes, it’s very crowded. We normally smack each other’s arms because its so crowded. Our blocks, some of them, are actually caving in. Like, we need this new pool.”
This proposed aquatic center would not just benefit swim teams but any community members looking for a place to take their family to the pool.
The Bryan County Board of Commissioners says the next steps are get a consultant involved so they can get official plans to move forward.
“I don’t think anyone is opposed to it. I think we do need to start somewhere. I see this not only as a city county partnership, but this is like a regional partnership," said Carter Infinger, Bryan County Board of Commissioners.
The same parents and students will pitch their same hope to Richmond Hill city council next Tuesday.
Members of the Richmond Hill community will go before the Board of Commissioners Tuesday to propose the need for a swimming pool and aquatic center in the area.
Currently, there is one pool in Richmond Hill, located at the Richmond Hill Swim Club, which only has four swimming lanes.
It’s been at least 20 years since the city of Richmond Hill has been discussing a pool for its residents, and with the Richmond Hill School District expected to double its enrollment by 2028, many say it’s finally time to fulfill that vision and get a pool to the city.
“We’re running out of space," said Tura Sandt, Richmond Hill Swim Club, Program Manager.
Sandt is just one of many in the city of Richmond Hill who will speak publicly at a Bryan County commissioners meeting in hopes of bringing a much needed pool and aquatic center to the area.
“It would really mean a lot if we could have a bigger pool, a 50 meter pool where we can practice long course, because when we go through long course season, we actually have to go to Savannah to practice on Saturdays. We get one practice a week because this is a short course pool,” Sandt said.
Sandt says while the lack of pool and aquatic center is a good problem to have in the city, she says swim lessons have tripled, swim teams have doubled, business is growing, and they’re simply running out of space.
While the only swim club in the city is used by multiple groups, it puts people like Brenda Krokoski at a disadvantage, limiting her and her families accessibility.
“Just yesterday, I was attempting to find a pool so my granddaughter and I could go to an outside pool and just play and have fun, and there wasn’t one available," Krokosi said.
Krokoski says while she’s already forced to go to different counties to meet her needs, she says her hope is to not only see a larger pool and some other amenities, but she would also like to see things like water aerobics, a therapy area for high schools and members of the military with injuries.
“My goal for a pool in Richmond Hill is to have a recreational cabana pool so that me and my grandchildren can have a place to go to, to play in the pool," Krokoski siad.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m.