Black Community in Fla. Gets a New Swimming Pool 40 Years Later

A black community nestled in Hallandale Beach, Fla., has waited 40 years for city leaders to follow through on their promise to restore its asphalt-covered pool. The new pool will open this month.

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It’s summer. It’s hot, and one quick, easy way to cool off is to take a dip in a pool.

But members of a black community in Hallandale Beach, Fla., have been waiting 40 years to do just that.

A new pool is slated to open July 12 in B.F. James Park, named after a principal who served at the first elementary school for the community’s black students, CBS Miami reports.

The rebuilding of the pool—that served as a central fixture and meeting place for the black community during the summer months in the 1960s—will fulfill a four-decade-long promise made by city leaders after the rundown “old Dixie” pool originally closed.

“There’s a lot of history here on this site,” Murvin Wright, who heads the Palms Community Action Coalition, said. “It has a special place in the heart of the black community here in Hallandale Beach.”

Restoration of the pool has strengthened the community by creating job opportunities and a second shot at life for some members of the community who’ve had previous brushes with the law.

“Many of these guys needed second chances because they couldn’t get an ordinary job,” said James Alexander of Alexander & Johnson Project Management. “They’ve done a great job and to be part of a project this special and this historic is quite rewarding.”

The revitalization project is part of phase one of Hallandale Beach’s Citywide Parks Master Plan that  includes a playground, basketball courts and fitness trail and requires that half of the $7.1 million in construction costs remain in the city.

“The economic impact of this is huge in itself because of the amount of revenue that stayed in the community,” Wright explained to CBS Miami.

Community leaders plan to name the new pool after Arington Steve Clark who worked as a lifeguard in the 1960s.

“It’s a source of opportunity and tremendous pride for this community,” Wright told CBS Miami.

Read more at CBS Miami.