Local

Fresno swimming pools open despite budget uncertainty

Monday, June 18, 2012

They lined up in the heat, waiting for the pools to open, and were glad to get in the water.

Morgan Haws of Fresno was one of the first in the water: "It's very nice, it's very hot today and its very good to swim in the pool."

But having a place to swim in the summer is no longer a guarantee in Fresno.

"It's questionable every year as to what our budget will provide, but it's absolutely obvious the council and city leadership know that pools are critical." Fresno's Community Coordinator, Heather Heinks says the city opened the big pool at the city owned Airways Golf Course , along with the pools at the Frank H. Ball, Mary Ella Brown and Mosqueda Community centers. The small "learner" pool at the Romain playground is also open.

Heinks says the city hopes to have the wader pools at the Fink White playground, Einstein Park, Quigley Playground and the Pinedale Community Center open in a week or so.

One big community facility that won't be opening any time soon is the former EOC Gym in southwest Fresno. A financial dispute between the city, the Economic Opportunities Commission and the State of California is keeping the $4 million building closed for daily neighborhood use.

But the pools are open and the long time tradition of public swimming in Fresno is back, for one more summer at least.

Tamara Brown has been coming here since she was a teenager:" I met my husband here 28 years ago. Now my grandkids are coming here. My kids are here."

The city is even bringing back its swimming lessons program. They start next week at airways pool.

The city pools are a bargain at just a dollar for kids, two dollars for adults, but they are only open four hours a day, from one to five, and the city is still in the process of hiring lifeguards.

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Tags:
fresno, fresno county, budget cuts, local, gene haagenson
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