Money found, city pools will stay open

Donations from 2010 will be used to keep several city pools open this summer that the mayor last month had slated for closure.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Friday that Baltimore City Foundation donations from two years ago will be used to keep all 13 neighborhood pools open for seven weeks, beginning June 23.


"The council president has been advocating for increased funding for rec and parks for the entire time he's been on the council," said Lester Davis, a spokesman for City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young. "He's obviously excited the citizens will be able to participate in and enjoy the pools."

A phone call and email to the mayor's spokesman were not returned late Friday. The amount of foundation money that will be used to keep the pools open, and how the funds were made available, were not mentioned in the mayor's statement.

The Baltimore City Foundation is a nonprofit that government officials use to collect donations for city projects. Two years ago, private donors stepped in to keep the pools open longer when closures were threatened.

Rawlings-Blake's administration had announced this month that seven unidentified neighborhood pools would be closed for the summer. The mayor said some of the neighborhood pools, also called "walk-to" pools, should be closed because they are run-down and not heavily used.

Repairs will be expedited so the pools can open on schedule, according to Friday's statement from the mayor's office.

The Department of Recreation and Parks will be evaluating all aquatics facilities this summer, the mayor's office said. The department will develop a long-term plan, monitor pool attendance and examine the facilities' accessibility.

The department will explore the possibility of converting some neighborhood pools to "splash pads" — fountains for children to play in — which are less expensive to construct and do not require lifeguard supervision.

After several years of waning access to pools, a facility will reopen this summer. A pool in Sharp-Leadenhall that has been closed for a decade has been converted to a splash pad — and the neighborhood pools will be open a week longer than last year.

Two years ago, the pool season was shortened to save money, and last year pools were on a staggered schedule. Several wading pools will remain closed this summer because their filtration systems do not meet health codes.

City pools open this summer

The 26 Baltimore pools that will be open include:

•Park pools will be open in Cherry Hill, Clifton, Druid Hill, Patterson, Riverside and Roosevelt on weekends from May 26 through June 16. Beginning June 23 they will be open every day until Sept. 3.


•Wading pools in Cherry Hill, Clifton Park, Patterson Park, Riverside and Roosevelt will be open on the same schedule as the pools in those parks.

•Neighborhood walk-to pools will be open at Ambrose Kennedy, Central Rosemont, C.C. Jackson, City Springs, Coldstream, Farring-Baybrook, Greater Model, Liberty, O'Donnell Heights, Towanda, Walter P. Carter and William McAbee. They will be open every day from June 23 through Aug. 12.

•Indoor pools at Cherry Hill, Callow Hill and Chick Webb will operate on a limited basis for water aerobics classes, programs and rentals.

•The Solo Gibbs, North Harford and Walter Sondheim (Inner Harbor) splash pads will be open. Walter Sondheim is open April 1 through Nov. 1; Solo Gibbs and North Harford will open June 25.

Pool admission fees are unchanged from last summer. Entrance to park pools will cost $1.50, walk-to pools and splash pads $1.

Source: Mayor's office