Residents Used Facebook to Stay Engaged and Prevent Pool Closure


Swimming Pool Latino Health Drowning Prevention Equity
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When city leaders in Loretto, Tenn. (2% Latino) began discussion of closing the city’s only pool, residents turned to social media to stay informed and engaged, and they won.

Swimming may be most the promising activity to get and keep Latino kids active in and out of school.

In 2011, the Loretto City Pool closed because of safety concerns. In early 2013, Loretto residents started a Facebook page to get a new pool built.

Through the “Save the Loretto City Pool” Facebook page, residents stayed informed of city council meetings and project updates and encouraged each other to attend public meetings.

The Loretto Parks and Recreation Department conducted a needs assessment asking residents what the top three priorities were over the next five years when it comes to parks and recreation. Building an outdoor pool came in first, building trails came in second, and building an indoor pool tied a splash pad for third.

Citizen involvement and input persuaded the city to explore options related to possible grants and funding for the development of a new pool, requiring a local match of 50%. Residents began fundraising.

In 2014, the city applied for a Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant, through the Division of Recreation Educational Services. Applicants could receive funding for innovative ideas using recyclable material and energy efficient features for recreation facilities.

The city received $250,000 from the Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant, $273,100 from the Office of Sustainable Practices’ grant, and the local match of $525,000 from fundraising, $125,000 of which came from the state under Governor Bill Haslam.

On August 27, 2016, the new 4,200 square foot, handicapped-accessible, energy-efficient pool and splash pad made from recyclable materials opened.

The facility includes pervious pavement, bioswales, skylights and LED lighting to illuminate interior areas, a 40% fly-ash concrete pool deck, and has a high-efficiency water heating system.

Read a similar story about low-income neighborhood in Minneapolis that fought and raised funds to prevent their pool from closing.

Watch a video about schools and parks collaborating to teach kids water safety.


By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latinos live within walking distance (<1 mile) of a park

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