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Letter to the Editor: Build the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center

by ARLnow.com — April 22, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Jef Dolan, an Arlington resident, Marymount University professor and mother of Olympic gold medalist swimmer Tom Dolan

As a long time swimming resident of Arlington, I would like to refute some of the points that Peter made in his March 31 column referring to the proposed aquatics center at Long Bridge Park.

Many early mornings I would have to take my two time Olympic Gold Medalist son Tom to 50 meter pools either in the District, Fairfax or Montgomery County to train or swim in local and regional meets. I resented seeing these facilities getting revenues from food concessions, t-shirts and pool fees.

Why couldn’t Arlington share in this revenue?

The aquatics center at Long Bridge Park gives us this opportunity.

Will Arlington need additional indoor and outdoor recreational facilities in the future?

Existing county recreational facilities are not adequate to meet the full range of current and future community recreational, fitness and aquatics needs of the growing youth, adult and senior populations. A report by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service Demographic Research Group showed that Arlington County’s population grew by 9.4 percent from the 2010 Census through July 2013 alone. By 2040, Arlington’s overall population is expected to grow by over 65,000 people.

Many of the aquatic classes I try to enroll in as a 55+ citizen in the high school pools through the parks and recreation department are closed due to over enrollment. As much of the Arlington population ages, we seek affordable places to recreate to continue productive lives in the county.

As a mom who has sat in pools all over the country, I have seen the benefits of a multi-purpose training facility.

Existing county recreational facilities are not adequate to meet the full range of current and future community recreational, fitness and aquatics needs of the growing youth, adult and senior populations. We need to have an Oak-Mar Fairfax facility in our community.

Sixty-three percent of our citizens responded favorably to this in a recent survey posted on ARLnow.com.

The money is there. Let’s coalesce as a community to build this facility.

I look forward to seeing many youth teams and swim for safety programs delight in this amenity in Arlington County.

ARLnow.com occasionally publishes thoughtful letters to the editor about issues of local interest. To submit a letter to the editor, please email it to [email protected] Letters may be edited for content and brevity.

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