Piedmont to take a plunge for charity
by Laura Gaddy
lbgaddy@annistonstar.com
Dec 30, 2013 | 4358 views |  0 comments | 89 89 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Venecia Butler, her sister Randa Carroll and Piedmont mayor Bill Baker look over the cold water at Piedmont City Pool. The pool will be the site of a "Polar Plunge" to raise money for charity. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Venecia Butler, her sister Randa Carroll and Piedmont mayor Bill Baker look over the cold water at Piedmont City Pool. The pool will be the site of a "Polar Plunge" to raise money for charity. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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Until recently, Piedmont officials didn't plan to open the city’s new pool until the summer, but on Saturday the public will have its first chance to make a splash there.

The city is opening the pool for the Piedmont Polar Plunge, an event the city will host to help a local charity and to give residents the opportunity to do something new. The idea is for participants to brave the elements, wading into the water during the coldest time of year. Piedmont Mayor Bill Baker got the idea while watching people take a dip in Lake Michigan on TV years ago.

“I knew I’d never go to Michigan so I thought, ‘Let’s bring it to Piedmont,’” Baker said. “I have a little daredevil in me.”

A $10 entry fee will be charged to anyone who wants to take a dip, but bystanders can watch for free. The money will go to the Venecia Foundation, a local charity that cares for cancer patients undergoing treatment.

“People normally just won’t jump in the water in January unless there is a good reason,” Baker said.

Records on the National Weather Service’s website show that an average high temperature of 53 for Jan. 4 in Anniston, the nearest site on record. The average low, according to the site, is 33. Meteorologist with the service forecast sunny conditions for Piedmont Saturday with a high of 46.

People who decide to take a dip will be able to jump, slide or run into the new salt-water pool. It has a diving board, a spiral slide and sloping beach-style access into the shallow end.

Local emergency medical personnel will be on hand to help if anyone experiences health problems from the plunge, and members of a dive team will be waiting in wet suits just in case they need to make a rescue, Baker said.

The city also will have a bonfire, coffee and hot chocolate to help people warm up after they get out of the pool. The new facility also has locker rooms where participants can change into dry clothes.

“It just really fell into place,” Baker said. “I hope we have a tremendous crowd.”

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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