To the editor:
My husband moved me to the City of Alexandria 17 years ago, saying this was a great place to live and raise our kids, because he believes in the virtue of walkable communities and diversity – especially equity. Well, I have to say that the latter is far from true.
Ten years ago, a group of parents got together to petition the city for a regulation competition pool. This was so the T.C. Williams High School students didn’t need to travel 30 to 40 minutes for home meets and to mitigate drowning, and engage children in swimming.
In fact, we have a recreation center named after an Alexandrian child who drowned: Charles Houston. For five years Advocates for Alexandria Aquatics visited pools and community leaders, got sponsors and secured $2.5 million for a competition pool knowing that their children would never reap the benefits of the pool. They did it for the love of Alexandria and swim/dive.
Everything was ready to break ground for a $2.5 million competition pool. But City Manager Mark Jinks unilaterally pulled the funding at the last minute and kept the funds already raised.
Today, instead of honoring their word for a state-of-the-art competition pool, they again are cheating the children of Alexandria. If the citizens of Alexandria want a regulation pool, then ACPS must take $14 million out of its budget, which supports our children, teachers and administrators, to fund a small pool so that another Alexandria child won’t drown.
How dare they.
Teachers and administrators work many hours and spend hundreds of dollars of their personal money to help these kids out. As a past and present member of the PTSA, I can attest to their hard work, long hours and financial burden of our ACPS workers. Fourteen million dollars could help many children academically and emotionally, yet they don’t have the funds to spare.
As a long-time citizen of Alexandria, I demand that the city honor its agreement to build a state-of-the-art regulation competition pool on city grounds as planned. If this doesn’t happen then Jinks, the head of the parks and recreation department and City Council must be fired.
How dare they take money from our children and teachers! I am one pissed off ACPS parent.
-Jacqueline Condakes, Alexandria