By Andrea Cordle
When lifelong Westgate resident Lori Bowman Garrard heard the Hilltop Swim Club was closing after 86 years, she was disheartened.
“I’m just not ready to see it go,” she said.
Bowman Garrard started going to the swim club when she was 3 years old. Now, she has her own children who have always enjoyed a dip in the local pool.
Because the swim club has such a personal meaning to her and because it is a staple in the westside community, Bowman Garrard decided to lease the facility and keep it open for the 2015 season.
“I want to keep it alive for one more year,” said Bowman Garrard.
She is working with employees of the swim club to prepare the pool for its summer opening. She said she has also received a lot of help from the swim club owners.
Jim and Kelly Campbell have owned the Hilltop Swim Club for the past 10 years. In March, the couple decided to close the pool, citing lack of profits as the reason.
In a public statement Jim and Kelly Campbell wrote, “This has not been an easy decision, but our continued hope is that someone who loves the pool and would like to support the community will purchase the pool.”
While Bowman Garrard does not plan to buy the property, she is hoping that keeping it open for one more season will entice potential new ownership. She believes that someone would be more likely to buy the property if it remains open.
“The westside has been hit so hard,” said Bowman Garrard. “I don’t want to see the pool
become an eyesore.”
Since leasing the property, Bowman Garrard said she has been overwhelmed with preparations.
“I never knew what went into all this,” she said.
Bowman Garrard has been working with volunteers to do landscaping, clean the concession stands and storage space. They will also need to powerwash the pool, patch concrete and repair drains before filling the pool later this month.
Throughout the season, Bowman Garrard said they may host fundraising events such as night swims, cookouts and concerts.
The Hilltop Swim Club will open on Sunday, May 24. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. Hours may change once school starts at the end of August. The pool will be open through Labor Day.
Memberships for the season are $100 for a single adult, $180 for a family of two, and $240 for a family of four. There is also a special guest rate of $7 per day.
The club is also in need of lifeguards for the season. Those interested can drop off an application at the facility, located at 2737 Valleyview Drive.
For more information on the club, visit the Hilltop Swim Club Facebook page, email the club at email@example.com, or call 274-2221.