Community help needed to save Washington pool

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – A pool in Washington needs your help.

The 16-year old Aquatic and Fitness Center is in need of a dehumidification system, which costs roughly $300,000.

“I start out in the deep end, I swim back and forth,” explained 71-year-old Alice Sellitti, who added that the pool is her lifeline. She spends every morning in the water at the center. “I don’t know how to say it, I love the place.”

Five years ago, she had a stroke, which she said robbed her of her life, “I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t talk. I lost vision in my right eye from my stroke.”

Since 2012, thanks to sponsors who pay her membership, Sellitti swims laps at the center.

“That is my time, and that is as many steps I took,” she commented.

Now, she’s worried the pool may close because the center’s de-humidification system is about to quit. It controls the air quality.

People in the community are fundraising to purchase a new one.

“Originally, we have planned for $150,000 as our ultimate goal at the end of December,” explained Parks and Recreation Director Kristi Roberson. “We have currently, since June, raised almost $22,500.”

Roberson said city council agreed to help fund the new equipment. She said it’s crucial to keep the pool open for three swim teams, the Special Olympics, and the elderly.

“We have lots of members who this is their livelihood,” said Roberson. “They come out to socialize, to spend time with people, and, for some people, it may be their only form of social activity.”

As Sellitti gets ready to head home for the day, she hopes people realize how important the local pool is to the community.

“I see other people who had strokes, who come here, and they are working on it too, working on how to walk and how to talk, which is great,” said Sellitti. “If we didn’t have the pool, where would we go?”

If you are interested in donating to the pool, click here for a link to contact the Aquatic and Fitness Center about how you can help!

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