Lowcountry public and private donors dive into aquatic investment

The Danny Jones pool is getting improvements to make it a year-round facility. (Dave MacQueen/WCIV)

By Natalie

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Taking a dive and even a swim is something North Charleston's Mayor Keith Summey says he never got to do.

"My grandfather drowned and as a child my parents didn't let me participate in pool activities and things because they were afraid and I never learned to swim but the first thing I did as a parent was make sure both of my children could swim," Mayor Summey said.

Like a ripple effect, it's a lesson he wants to spread around the Lowcountry, one he hopes can be accomplished with the Danny Jones pool. On winter days, the pool that dates back to the 50's sat deserted without a soul in site, but that's about to change as North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, the City of Charleston and private donors pay to revamp the facility.

"This pool, by encasing it and enclosing it and heating it, is something that can be used year round," Mayor Summey said.

The venture will allow more months throughout the year for children to learn to swim. Thursday, first graders from Charleston Progressive Academy were taking a dip in the already heated pool. Hanging on every word, the kids were sitting at the edge eager to paddle.

"I think it's good for them to be excited for something, as new and as frightening that it can be when you don't know how to swim," Drexena Pouza, the children's physical education teacher said.

Mayor Summey says the pool's improvements will be thanks to the several cities and private donors including Boeing executive Marco Cavazzoni who Mayor Summey says raised more than $150,000 in private donations.

"The improvements to the Danny Jones Complex are the culmination of a regional effort of individuals in the local swim community, led by Dr. Cavazzoni through the Logan Rutledge Children's Foundation," a press release stated.

North Charleston officials say a few months ago, the group approached the City of North Charleston to address the Lowcountry's lack of a swimming facility to accommodate year-round, indoor training for competitive swimmers, education in water safety, swimming lessons, and senior aquatic activities.

If even one life is saved through the lessons taught at the pool, then city leaders from around the Lowcountry say its an investment their happy to dive into.