After ex-chairman of the St Johns County Board of Commissioners, Ken Bryan, delivered his infamous “contracts are made to be broken” speech a couple of years ago, reneging on a decade-long Inter-local Agreement that required the City to pay the County to maintain the Willie Galimore Center and pool, the City found few resources to shore-up the failing community landmark.
The County allowed the pool and appurtenant buildings to deteriorate under Ken Bryan’s administration, to the point that the Department of Health shut down the facility and padlocked the front gate; something that the slick and polished “one-term politician” doesn’t spend a lot of time talking about — now that he wants to be elected again, this time as mayor, of all things.
Two wonderful things happened in those dark days under Bryan’s despotic rule — we found charity in our time of need; something that makes St Augustine the kind of community we are when we dig deep and shine.
First, for city residents; some of whom have used the Galimore pool and facilities for generations, the Jacksonville Jaguars organization came forward with a donation that covered the cost of pool admission for many children during the past two summer seasons.
Second, for those children and teens who wanted to use the pool, but had yet to learn how to swim; another angel, Lincolnville resident Nancy Shaver, donated the funds needed so that the local St Augustine and St Johns County YMCA could include them in this essential training.
“Florida loses more kids under 5-years-old to drowning than any other state — so it only makes sense to help them learn to be safe swimmers,” Nancy Shaver told local Historic City News reporters. “Because the Jaguars have funded use of the pool for the past two seasons, I felt that funding these lessons would mean any child, no matter the family’s income, would have this opportunity.”
So, to honor her for providing free swimming lessons at the Galimore Center Pool, at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, August 12, Nancy Shaver will be awarded a plaque by the YMCA for her donation of funds, over the past two summers, that have been used to insure that all non-swimmers have an opportunity to learn to swim in a City surrounded by water.
Run by the YMCA, the Galimore Center pool is the only public pool in the City.
“If you haven’t tried this first-class facility, slip into your swimsuit and come enjoy the pool,” Shaver said.
The Willie Galimore Center Pool is located at 399 Riberia Street in St Augustine.