- Elizabeth Shirk, Environmental Division DNR/ Board of Regents
- United States of America
Citizens of Athens Georgia are in a fight to save a beloved, historic landmark--Legion Pool. Built in the '30s, with "years of hard work and worry," the pool remains a vital community resource. However, the pool is more than that--it is one of the few remaining WPA pools of its type, not only in Georgia, but in the country.
When it was opened, it was deemed "the largest and most beautiful pool south of Richmond, Virginia." It has played an important part in training WWII divers, and in training Olympic athletes, and continues to play an important part in the life of the Athens community.
In 1952, Clarke County Superior Court Judge Henry West, in reviewing the offer by UGA to purchase the pool and surrounding acreage, noted that the pool was held and operated “more or less in the nature of a trust, built to serve the citizens of Athens.” And thus for 77 years it has been so operated for the benefit of the people."
However, the University of Georgia--which has neglected to create a preservation plan for its campus in compliance with Georgia Historic Code 12-3-55--has deemed it obsolete and plans to tear it down. We have evidence that the pool is not beyond a reasonable and economically feasible repair.
Instead of renovating the pool, which is what the community wants, for an estimated $490,000, the University intends to to build a much smaller pool for 2.6 million--a pool which will not be large enough to accommodate the families and children who now attend Legion Pool, in a much less hospitable setting, without the cover of trees.
This makes little economic sense, and we urge the DNR and the Board of Regents to encourage the University of Georgia in its responsibility to be a good steward of our historic and community resources.