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Jacksonville Councilman Proposes Free Swim Lessons For Thousands Of Area Kids

City of Jacksonville

At least 6,000 Duval County children will get free swimming lessons this summer if a bill introduced Wednesday is approved by the Jacksonville City Council.

Councilman Garrett Dennis, who sponsored the bill, is asking for $200,000 to pay for two weeks of instruction for kids ages 3 to 17.

He said the object is not only to teach children how to swim but to help them be safe around water.

“It’s drowning prevention," he said. "You know, if a child falls into a pool, how to get to safety; if they slip into a retention pond, how to get to safety; how to survive if they’re in a body of water.”

While the bulk of the money will be spent on actual swimming lessons, Dennis said the rest will be used to teach kids about pool safety and provide transportation for kids who need a ride.

The City Council is expected to vote on the bill at its June 27 meeting. 

Dennis said he’d like to see the city offers water safety lessons year round.

Cyd Hoskinson can be reached at, 904-358-6351 and on Twitter @cydwjctnews