Roosevelt Park starts summer with pool party

Omar Ibrahim, a relative newcomer to Hampden, went to the Roosevelt Park pool for the first time Saturday, and was impressed that it cost only $2 to get in.

The next day, Ibrahim came back with his three children — not knowing it was Friends and Family Day, a special pool party for the public. Both the event and admission to the pool were free from 1-3 p.m. Sunday.

"Today, we got lucky," said Ibrahim, 45, as he held his pool-drenched son, Lucas, 3, in a towel in his arms. "Still, $2 is a pretty good deal. I hear they have movie nights, too."

The software development manager, who moved from Anne Arundel County last year to be closer to his job at a law firm in Mount Washington, was one of more than 100 people who came to the party and cookout.

The event was funded with $250 from Falkenhan's hardware store and $100 each from the Hampden Community Council and the Hampden Village Merchants Association.

Michael Range, who sells Italian ices at the pool, gave them away on Sunday.

"The people here are top-notch," Range said. "It's a way of giving back."

Chad Gauss, chef and owner of the Hampden restaurant The Food Market, brought his family to the pool for the first time.

"I think it's beautiful — and it's free," said Gauss, a member of the merchants' association.

William Micichi, 56, sat in a lawn chair on the grassy bank beside the pool and read "Genghis: Lord of the Bow," a historical novel based on the life of Genghis Khan.

"I have a season pass," said Micichi, who was born and raised in Hampden. "I've been coming here my whole life. I bring my grandchildren now."

Outside the pool entrance, volunteers cooked hot dogs while Baltimore Energy Challenge offered information on ways to reduce energy costs.

Jessica Medley, 34, of Hampden, a community aide at the pool and a parent educator in Baltimore County, drew a heart on the cheek of her daughter, 7-year-old Aniah Meekins.

"I like seeing the children smile and be happy," Medley said.

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