N. Charleston to unveil plans of year-round regional swimming facility

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Officials with the City of North Charleston say a new swimming initiative will be announced Friday.

Details are scarce on the plan. Much of the inner workings of the deal are expected to be shared at the announcement.

But, what we can confirm is that the initiative includes heating and enclosing the pool at the Danny Jones Recreation Complex in North Charleston and that Mayor Keith Summey of North Charleston, Mayor Joseph Riley of Charleston, Mayor Billy Swails of Mount Pleasant and Boeing vice president and general manager Marco Cavazzoni are involved in the joint municipality effort.

According to officials in North Charleston, 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 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.

The group's Lowcountry Aquatics Program (LAP) seeks to provide lifelong aquatics opportunities for Lowcountry residents - with a special emphasis on teaching children in underprivileged Lowcountry areas to swim, thus reducing the incidence of accidental drownings.

With the City of North Charleston on-board, the group began raising private funds, setting a goal of $250,000. In addition to the private fundraising, the Town of Mount Pleasant has committed $100,000 toward the project. Furthermore, Mayor Riley pledged to seek $25,000 in the City of Charleston's 2013 Budget for the Logan Rutledge Foundation's Learn to Swim programs in conjunction with the Charleston County School District.

North Charleston City Council voted on February, 23, 2012 for an initial round of funding to begin the first phase of the $1,000,000 Danny Jones Complex project. North Charleston will also incur ongoing operational and maintenance costs to the facility.

The month of May has been declared "Water Safety Awareness Month," as adopted by the South Carolina General Assembly, House Resolution 3310. Representative Gilliard was a key sponsor on the resolution.