With the help of local partners, a major donation from The Papa John’s Foundation For Building Community and a contribution from former University of Louisville and current Atlanta Falcons player Jamon Brown’s foundation, Mayor Greg Fischer today announced a plan for summer swimming alternatives for youth and families in the Louisville area.
The plan includes 10 community swim events at two YMCA of Greater Louisville locations, structured swims at Central High School’s pool, and daily community swim sessions at The Mary T. Meagher Aquatic Center – along with transportation options for those who otherwise would have trouble getting to the pools.
The four outdoor pools typically operated by Louisville Parks and Recreation – Norton (Camp Taylor), Algonquin, Sun Valley and Nelson Hornbeck (Fairdale) – will not be open this year due to budget cuts caused by the pension crisis and the Metro Council vote in March against new revenue sources.
After hearing that, Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie reached out to ask how his team could help. Representatives for Brown, a Louisville native and Fern Creek High School alum, soon joined the cause. And after gathering feedback from past and future users of the four pools, Louisville Parks and Recreation worked with partners — the YMCA, Jefferson County Public Schools and TARC — to develop the alternative plan for the summer.
“I am so pleased that The Papa John’s Foundation For Building Community and Jamon Brown stepped up to help us provide swimming opportunities for our community this summer,” said Mayor Fischer. “We’re facing a challenging time in our city, but great leaders solve challenges. We are grateful for the partners who’ve stepped in to help ensure a fun summer for children and families in the absence of our four outdoor pools.”
Papa John’s donation of $90,000 through The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community, along with the $5,000 donation from the Jamon Brown Foundation and a matching $5,000 donation from the Atlanta Falcons, will be used for pool operations, including lifeguards.
“Just like pizza, pools are a key ingredient to summertime fun. We wanted to make sure that kids and their families across Louisville would have access to that summer experience, despite the tough choices Mayor Fischer and Metro Government are facing right now. We are honored to be able to offer our support with this donation from The Papa John’s Foundation for Building Community,” said Steve Ritchie, Papa John’s President and CEO. “I am excited to partner with Papa John’s, JCPS, TARC and YMCA to assist our youth with constructive activity this summer that also aligns with the Healthy Living aspect of our Foundation’s mission,” Brown said. “I am also grateful to the Atlanta Falcons organization for matching my donation to the children in my hometown, of which I love dearly. I can’t wait to get back home after camp to have a swim party with our youth!”
YMCA CEO Steve Tarver said, “Safe opportunities for swimming are important for everyone. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Metro Louisville to continue to make options available for safe summer aquatic activities.”
Specifics of the plan:
“As a school district, we are always looking to support our students throughout the year. I am happy to open our facilities and create opportunities for great summer experiences for children. This is another example of what is possible when we can come together as a community,” said Dr. Marty Pollio, Superintendent of JCPS.
Interested organizations should call the Parks and Recreation main office at (502) 574- 7275 for additional information.
Realizing that transportation may be a barrier for children and families seeking the opportunity for one of these three options, Louisville Parks and Recreation is also working with TARC to provide rides to swim sites for those without access to a vehicle. For more information, please call Parks at (502) 574-7275.