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Baltimore's public pools deserve greater support

The public pool at Patterson Park can be a relief on hot summer days. File.
The public pool at Patterson Park can be a relief on hot summer days. File. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

On a recent Sunday, my husband and I brought our infant daughter to the Patterson Park Pool. We loved our first trip to our neighborhood pool. It was a refreshing reminder of the unrealized potential of Baltimore’s public recreational offerings. With proper funding, public support and vision, the pools could be open many more hours a day and perhaps be made free for Baltimore City residents, as are the public pools in Washington, D.C.

These meditations compounded my disappointment in the recent Travel section article, “Baltimore area pools that fit every mood” (June 25). Never mind that the first featured pool is accessible only to those who can pay over $1,800 a month in rent, a price that would require a minimum wage earner in Maryland allocating one-third of his or her budget for a one-bedroom apartment to work over 600 of 730 available hours in a month. The article missed a fine opportunity to highlight the marvelous public pools of Baltimore city. These pools are neglected in part because better off Baltimoreans can pay to join, and bring their families to, truly wonderful pools within — and outside of — the city limits.

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Some of us can buy ourselves out of engaging with the problems with our city’s limited but potentially outstanding public pool system. In reviewing pools that are out of reach to many Baltimoreans due to cost, the lack of a car and the lack of adequate public transport, The Sun inadvertently shines light on the legacies of neighborhood segregation, the white supremacist response to public pool desegregation and also on the ongoing failure of the city’s government to meet the needs of sweltering citizens regardless of their ability to pay.

Lydia H. Pecker, Baltimore

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