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Vinton's pool prayers are answered

June 08, 2010
  • Church leaders at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church say they got involved because they didn't want these kids to go without this summer.
Church leaders at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church say they got involved because they didn't want these kids to go without this summer.

Some residents in the town of Vinton say their prayers have been answered.

Last fall, town council voted to close its pool which is located behind the Vinton War Memorial.

But the pool is back open this summer after all, thanks to a local church.

Three thousand people typically visit Vinton's pool every year.

Town leaders say that number needs to rise and a nearby church is diving right in to help.

Vinton voted to close the pool because of budget cuts.

"I think you would have had a lot of sad kids. So many people get to come here and enjoy their summer here. I came here when I was a kid," says Jamie Gray, who uses the pool.

But kids are in luck, thanks to Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church.

Members spruced up the pool by painting buildings, planting flowers, and staining the picnic tables.

They also put in a concession stand and beginning next week the church will add a craft area and provide free dinner every Wednesday night.

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They're also paying for free swimming lessons for 150 kids.

The town says the church has been a lifesaver.

"I think at times we were pinching ourselves and going is this really happening? Yes it is," says Vinton's Special Programs Director, Mary Beth Layman.

Church leaders say they got involved because they didn't want these kids to go without this summer.

"We are in the need needing business and it's always a good thing when you can stand in the gap," says Lead Pastor, Lynne Alley-Grant.

The town hopes the church's efforts will bring more people in and hopefully bring in more

revenue.

Vinton's pool costs $70,000 every summer to operate but it only generates $30,000.

While the pool is safe this summer, there are definitely murky waters ahead.

The town says it's financial picture may be even worse next year and then there's the fact this pool is more than 60 years old and will soon need major repairs.

Users of the pool realize its future is very much in doubt. They're just grateful to their nearby neighbor.

"I think it's answer to prayer, because I prayed about it last year. I was like God you are the only that can keep that pool open and he did," says Vinton resident, Karen Jones.

The town attorney had to review the church's proposal before town council voted to accept it.

There are some restrictions, such as the church can't pass out literature at the pool.

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