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Ten Cincinnati city pools won't open this summer

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Big budget cuts have forced Cincinnati lawmakers to close nearly a third of the city's pools. Now some critics claim the city is targeting neighborhoods that need them the most.

For the first time, ten Cincinnati pools, including ones in Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine, Leblond and North Fairmont won't open.

"I don't think it's fair," said Machia Thompson. "This is where all the kids are. They're not going to have anything to do. They're closing everything else down."

"Where are they gonna go?" said Antawna Thompson. "Most people don't drive or we gotta catch the bus? It ain't frustrating. I just think it's racist."

Recreation director Dr. Norman Merrifield said the decision isn't based on race, but rather, the budget.

"I'd say that that's ridiculous," said Dr. Merrifield. "We didn't want to close any pool, but we had to pay our part," said Dr. Merrifield. "We had to pay a part in the new economy."

Dr. Merrifield is talking about helping to plug a part of the city's $51-million deficit. The pool closures will save the city $300,000.

Dr. Merrifield said it all came down to attendance over the last four years. Merrifield said he decided to close the ten pools with the lowest numbers. Overall operating costs and proximity to other pools also played a role.

Merrifield said most of the communities seem to understand the issue. The College Hill pool on Belmont Ave. won't open this year. College Hill community leaders said they're trying to raise money to build a sprayground.

Several other communities are also taking matters into their own hands. The Civic Association in Mt. Adams has raised $4,000 to make sure their pool stays open this season.

"This is a priority that's not only for the community, but for the city," said Jim McCarty, president of the Mt. Adams Civic Association. "We're willing to step to the plate, and really help out and make things work well. Win win situation. Support the recreation commission. They support us by keeping the pool open."

Mt. Adams residents are also working to convert a bathhouse in Mt. Adams to a recreation center. McCarty said it could generate money and eventually help pay for the pool.

Still, the 26 pools that'll remain open will close early. All of the pools will close before August, typically the hottest month in the Tri-state. Some of the spraygrounds will close in early September.

"Sometimes near the end of those seasons, those 10 week seasons, the participation levels do drop off," said Dr. Merrifield. "But, I'd like to have 10 weeks."

Dr. Merrifield said the Winton Place swimming pool on Hand Avenue will be open. It was originally on the list of pools that would be closed. Over the weekend, the community found out they raised enough money to save it: $14,000.

The recreation commission is also offering a city-wide pool pass. This is the first year for the program. The pass will give participants access to all city pools for the year. Adult passes are $25. Passes for children and seniors are $10.

Some spraygrounds will open Thursday, May 27th. The Dunham Aquatic Center will open May 29th. All other pools will open June 7th.


Pools Not Opening in 2010

  1. Filson
  2. North Fairmont
  3. Winton Place
  4. College Hill
  5. Washington Park
  6. Over-the-Rhine
  7. LeBlond
  8. Fairview
  9. Caldwell
  10. Inwood

For a complete list of openings/closures: http://www.ci.cincinnati.oh.us/crc/downloads/crc_eps39318.pdf


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