By Community Affairs reporter Cherri Gregg
YEADON, Pa. (CBS) – A historic swim club, once on the brink of closure, officially opened for the season this weekend.
“We’ve had lots of tough years, but every summer, we’ve opened,” says Jaquelynne Puriefoy-Brinkley. Her father helped found the Nile Swim Club in 1958 after discrimination excluded Blacks from Yeadon’s other exclusive club. Fifty-four years later, the Nile has weathered years of financial storms, almost shuttering its doors twice in the past three years.
This weekend, it opened with bright blue water and a fresh coat of paint, hopefully, a sign that the club is forging ahead.
“We’re hoping this season gives us financial stability, we’re hoping that it bring people back,” says Gwendolyn Brown, a member of the board. “We would like to preserve some of the history. One of the things that we talked about was getting it designated as a historical location. We would also like to do some upgrades so we can offer more.”
Brown says they need to add about 280 memberships to the roughly 85 they currently have to make their dreams a reality. The repairs made for this season came from donations and lots of elbow grease.
“Kenneth Green, Richard Barnes and Dr. Bernard Harris, were so happy to do it,” says Gretchen Allen, board member. “They grew up here, right here in Yeadon at this pool, so to see all three of them doing that warmed my heart.”
Puriefoy-Brinkley, stood poolside smiling with her five-year-old grandaughter, Naomi, by her side. She says she is confident the club’s new leadership can navigate the Nile out of rough waters.
“It’s important that we continue to push for what we need,” she says.
Puriefoy-Brinkley says they will all work together so that this fourth and future generations can share in the Nile’s legacy.
“We’ll never lose this place, never,” she says.