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Published: Tuesday, 6/10/2008

Metal thieves target 2 city pools; talk of early opening ends

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Victor Covington prepares the Detwiler pool. A city spokesman says it will open in June. (THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG)
<br>
<img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/weblink_icon.gif> <font color=red> <b>CITY OF TOLEDO</font color=red></b>: <a href=" http://www.ci.toledo.oh.us/Departments/DepartmentofNeighborhoods/DivisionofRecreation/PublicPools/tabid/197/Default.aspx" target="_blank "><b>Local pools, admission prices and hours</b></a> 

Victor Covington prepares the Detwiler pool. A city spokesman says it will open in June. (THE BLADE/HERRAL LONG) <br> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/assets/gif/weblink_icon.gif> <font color=red> <b>CITY OF TOLEDO</font color=red></b>: <a href=" http://www.ci.toledo.oh.us/Departments/DepartmentofNeighborhoods/DivisionofRecreation/PublicPools/tabid/197/Default.aspx" target="_blank "><b>Local pools, admission prices and hours</b></a>
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Thieves ruined any possibility for Toledo to open its public pools a few days early to help people beat the sweltering temperatures, city officials said yesterday.

"These [metal] scrappers ended any chance at all," said Sherrie Shipman, manager of recreation for the city.

She said there had been discussion about opening some pools earlier because of the recent heat, although she acknowledged that was a slim possibility.

Detwiler and Jamie Farr pools, both of which straddle Summit Street in North Toledo, were the targets of thieves Thursday and Friday nights. Copper piping and other metal equipment were stripped from both locations.

Now, swimmers will have to suffer through steamy temperatures until Friday, when six pools and the splash pad at Savage Park will open.

The temperature is expected to be in the middle to high 80s the rest of this week. The forecast for opening day Friday includes a high of 85 degrees and isolated thunderstorms.

The pools that will open at the end of this week are Jamie Farr, Roosevelt, Willys, Pickford, Ravine, and Wilson.

Detwiler Pool will open before the end of the month, said Elizabeth Phillips, spokesman for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

City worker Chris Dudek shows where pipe was stolen from the Jamie Farr pool. It is to open Friday with Roosevelt, Willys, Pickford, Ravine, and Wilson pools and the Savage splash pad.
City worker Chris Dudek shows where pipe was stolen from the Jamie Farr pool. It is to open Friday with Roosevelt, Willys, Pickford, Ravine, and Wilson pools and the Savage splash pad.
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"We weren't planning on opening Detwiler this year so we weren't originally going to do any work there," Ms. Phillips said. "As soon as everything passed by City Council to open that pool, we started working there."

Admission for the Toledo pools is as follows: Willys, Ravine, and Detwiler are free for children 7 and under, $1 for those 8 to 12, and $2 for people 13 and over.

Other public pools were hit by metal thieves recently. A fence was cannibalized by vandals at Ravine pool, and the pump room at Collins Pool - which the city will not open this year but could have used for parts - was stripped of metal.

Ms. Phillips said Toledo police collected fingerprints from the break-ins at Detwiler and Jamie Farr park.

Scrap fever, as it is sometimes called, has also spurred a crime wave hitting homes, schools, construction sites, and even churches in the Toledo area.

City Council President Mark Sobczak called the problem an epidemic.

A proposed ordinance before City Council today would give the city authority to seize vehicles used to transport stolen scrap metal.

"Scrap metal prices are through the roof," Mr. Sobczak said. "That [ordinance] will take some of the scrappers off the street because they'll lose their vehicles .•.•.•and have other charges."

Ms. Shipman said everyone is looking forward to the pools opening Friday.

"I think people are excited about more complexes opening this year, because the only complex pool last year was Willys," she said.

Because of budget woes, the city last year opened only five of its 11 pools and the splash pad at Savage Park. In addition, the city began charging a flat $1 admission fee for the pools.

The cost to Toledo taxpayers to operate the seven pools that are scheduled to be opened and the splash pad - with some repairs - could total nearly $500,000.

Willys Pool, 1375 Hillcrest Ave., which has a diving board, was the most popular city pool last summer.

The pools that will remain closed for a second year are: Highland, 1800 South Ave.; Ashley, 141 Knowler St., and Collins, 624 Reineck Dr.

Swimmers have a wide selection of other places in the Toledo region to visit this summer.

Among the choices are:

•Centennial Terrace & Quarry, the popular spot for swimming at 5745 Centennial Rd. in Sylvania Township. The cost to swim is $5 per person.

•Maumee Bay State Park at 6505 Cedar Point Rd. in Oregon is a popular summer destination for swimmers. There is no fee to swim in Lake Erie and inland areas at the park.

•Olander Park in Sylvania and Sylvania Township, which has a spring-fed, 28-acre lake. The lake is open daily to the public for swimming from Memorial Day through mid-August. Olander Park System residents pay $2 per person to swim, while nonresidents are charged $4.

•Portage Quarry in Wood County is open to the public and costs $10 to dive, $5 for adults to swim, and $4 for children 12 and under to swim.

•Gilboa Quarry in Putnam County is open through Nov. 30 and costs $15 for either diving or snorkeling. General admission is $6.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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