HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCBD)- Construction on the West County Aquatic Center is underway after a groundbreaking at the site in Hollywood Wednesday.
The pool itself will be called “The Genesis Pool” in memory of 13-year-old Genesis Holmes who drowned in a pond in Hollywood in 2014.
His mother, Jennifer Holmes, says, “I’m so emotional, so gleeful, so joyous. This day, I prayed four years ago when my son passed with no understanding, not knowing what to do, and now this day is actually here, it’s reality.”
Genesis did not know how to swim and did not have access to swim lessons in his rural community.
His mother says, “Me and my son used to talk all the time and he would say, ‘Mom, I’m going to make you so proud of me’.”
But on Wednesday, it was Jennifer who was making Genesis proud. With the help of the Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission and the Parklands Foundation, construction is about to begin on the first public pool in Hollywood.
Hollywood’s Mayor, Jacquelyn S. Heyward, says, “It’s an investment in the rural community surrounded by bodies of water, an investment that will save lives of young people. It’s an investment in our children that otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn to swim.”
A big part of the project includes free or reduced cost swim lessons for local children. Jennifer Holmes says when Genesis died, she did not know how to swim either. In the past four years, she has mastered the skill and vows to be one of the people protecting young swimmers at The Genesis Pool.
She says, “I am going to be that lifeguard, I will begin my teaching at The Genesis Pool, the very first pool. I am so happy and elated.”
The $3 million Aquatic Center is just the beginning. Plans are in the works for two more public pools in Awendaw and Johns Island.
Holmes says, “A start, just a little closer, one area after the next.”
The West County Aquatic Center and The Genesis Pool are expected to open in Spring 2019.