Citing financial constraints and lack of regular use, Athens-Limston Hospital announced the closure of the pool at the health center, but many in the community felt the decision was bad.
In a letter to members on November 5, the hospital’s president, Tracy Collins, said the pool was too expensive to repair, especially as the hospital was working to recover from a $ 230,000 deficit at the center last budget year. Considering that less than .03% of the current members of the center use the pool regularly and require more than $ 270,000 in maintenance and equipment, Collins said he decided to close the pool later this year.
“We understand the frustration and inconvenience this decision has caused to some of our members, but we cannot avoid it,” she said. “Athens-Limston Hospital is responsible for meeting the medical and health care needs of patients and their families throughout our society. Unfortunately, sometimes difficult choices have to be made.”
The 75-foot pool will close on Dec. 31, according to the hospital. Collins did not mention in her letter that the hot tub was hurting, but that her membership included access to security centers in Huntville, Madison, Dicatur and Scholes, which are part of the Huntsville Hospital system.
“We also know that there is a medical pool at SportsFit in our community,” Collins said. “If you choose to go there, we will help.”
However, the community is not ready to leave the pool at ALH’s Wellness Center. By Friday, more than 500 people had signed up Change.org petition Ask the hospital to open the pool.
Many supporters have left comments to explain why it is important to stay open. For some, the pool helped them stay in shape as they got older or regain mobility after an accident. It is a way for other children, including swimmers, to practice swimming in the winter.
“If the pools are closed, it will seriously affect the health and safety of people living and working in Limston County,” the complaint read. “Athens-Limston Hospital is always regarded as a good health care provider and a good example of caring for members of this community. Taking large part of their resources for their health and well-being will have a detrimental effect on that image.
Laura Kerner, who filed the complaint, collected certificates, handwritten letters, and signatures from those who wanted the pool open. She wrote a book to show how much she wanted to make the pool available.
“The more they told me their story, the more I felt their voice needed to be heard, so either I wrote them down or told them to give me a witness, and they are still coming,” Kerner said. “The letters were coming.”
After the operation, Kerner was told to use the pool herself. She said she fears that people with disabilities, strokes, surgeries or accidents will not be able to get the repairs they need if the pool is closed.