Laurel, then and now: The Municipal Pool
THEN: The pool at Ninth and Main streets, now the Laurel Municipal Pool, was built in 1953 near the site of the former Laurel Cotton Mill. In 1968, the city bought the pool complex -- for $1 -- from the Laurel Park Commission, a corporation to which the city deeded the pool property in 1949. Under ownership of the Laurel Park Commission, the pool was private and segregated, despite requests at the time from members of the Laurel Grove Improvement Committee to allow admission to blacks. When the pool reopened as a public, municipal pool under the city's ownership, there were no restrictions on who could swim.
NOW: After considerable damage from Hurricane Agnes and other flooding in 1972, the city renovated the original pool complex. In 2005, the city spent $613,000 in future renovations, replacing pool filter systems, pool decks and electrical wiring; upgrading the bathrooms/locker rooms; and resurfacing the pool. Today the 92,000-square-foot complex includes three pools, a diving well, a snack bar and a meeting room. More than 12,000 visits were recorded last year, according to Laurel Parks and Recreation Director Mike Lhotsky.