Guest editorial: Save the Cooleemee Pool

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2024

By KC Smith

The likelihood of Cooleemee’s pool being demolished in the near future is a real threat to me and others who have a strong passion to save it.

A motivated small group met and discussed essential topics pertinent to draw up a realistic plan for Cooleemee’s town board to broaden their understanding of why it’s important to save the pool.

Economics are the top concern. Not making enough revenue to meet operational expenses will put us at risk.

And yes, it needs upgrading and repairs.

To preserve our historic pool is to restore a moment in time. Preserving this pool will become the livelihood of the town and anchor us in a long history.

Many of us watched our beautiful school go up in smoke when no one on the education board thought it was worth saving or was too expensive to renovate. A major loss to this town and I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it.

Our downtown was demolished for what reason I don’t know. That downtown was what made Cooleemee seem like a gated community without a gate. We had everything we needed and didn’t have to leave town to get it; drugstore, movie theater, mercantile store, doctor, beauty shop and more.

What a shame it’s all gone.

The old school on Watt Street is gone. The church on Duke Street burned down. The hotel by the river is gone. Not to forget the largest structure that we still mourn over, our beautiful cotton mill.

Thank goodness the old Cooleemee Journal building, that used to be behind the school while being used as canning processes, was bought by someone who loves Cooleemee and respects our historical heritage. He plans to refurbish the building so it can shine once again.

What do we have left?

The cook shack, African American school, Zachary House, which was our recreation center for years, the old police station and our pool and bath house.

I was too young or didn’t think I had a voice in any of the decisions that stripped our sweet town of its heritage in the past.

But, when it comes to what structures we have left, I’ll do everything in my power to see they are preserved.

We have a lot of work ahead of us but we are willing to get started and do our very best to bring back the livelihood to our town.

Our goal is to reach the needs of our community, to draw in surrounding areas, to develop programs for seniors and handicap needs, provide social

gatherings to strengthen our community, save lives with swim lessons, swim clubs and and many more reasons.

If our effort in this project isn’t enough to stop the demolition, at least we can say we tried.

Any passionate supporters who would like to take part in our efforts to save the pool send a text to KC Smith 336.250.1133.

KC Smith, a former Cooleemee Town Board member and wife of current Mayor Jeff Smith, is a regular contributor of area news to the Enterprise Record.