The Annapolis housing authority welcomed the first swimmers of the season to its community pool Wednesday after financial troubles and a dearth of lifeguards delayed its opening.
The Leron M. Fisher Community Swimming Pool, located on Madison Street in the Harbour House public housing neighborhood, opened after Maryland health inspectors deemed it safe for use on Tuesday, said Melissa Maddox-Evans, executive director of the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis.
In a public ceremony Wednesday morning, Maddox-Evans accepted a $10,000 grant from the Baltimore-based Atlas Restaurant Group to cover pool operations through the summer. Atlas is set to open its newest restaurant The Choptank on Compromise Street on July 11.
“Pool activities are key to a fun summer experience and we are glad to be able to provide it as a result of these donations,” Maddox-Evans said in a news release.
Alex Smith, president and CEO of the Atlas Restaurant Group, said in a news release his company was “thrilled to be able to play a small part in ensuring local families have a place to swim this summer.”
Earlier this year, the housing authority had warned it that fiscal issues could prevent the agency from opening the pool on time and that hiring lifeguards had been difficult because of a nationwide shortage. This month, the Annapolis City Council included $75,000 in the fiscal 2023 budget to pay for pool operations and other recreation infrastructure, said Alderman DaJuan Gay, who represents Ward 6 where the pool is located.
“If they were doing this for the optics, I’m OK with that. It helps the community,” Gay said. “Everyone is just excited to get it done.”