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Published: Tuesday, 6/25/2013 - Updated: 2 years ago

6 public pools open in city as heat soars

Mayor greets swimmers at Wilson

Jessica Bateman, 8, holds onto the side as she and friend Saniya Lincoln-Adams, 9, cool off Monday at Pickford Pool. Six of the city of Toledo’s public pools opened Monday. Jessica Bateman, 8, holds onto the side as she and friend Saniya Lincoln-Adams, 9, cool off Monday at Pickford Pool. Six of the city of Toledo’s public pools opened Monday.
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Six of Toledo’s public swimming pools opened Monday to the relief of heat-afflicted children in the city.

The pools’ openings come as temperatures hit the 90s in northwest Ohio. The high temperature in Toledo on Monday was 86 degrees after reaching 90 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures are forecast in the upper 80s today and Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.

“I was hoping that it would open up over the weekend because it was very hot,” said Corvon Williams, 13, who was swimming at Wilson Pool in his neighborhood in North Toledo.

Corvon said he goes to the pool almost every day in the summer, often arriving when it opens at noon and staying until closing at 6 p.m. “It’s a thing to do so you won’t get into as much trouble as you would when it’s closed," he said. “It’s a good way to keep your cool too.”

Mayor Mike Bell greeted swimmers at Wilson Pool, where he swam on a team as a boy. The mayor said learning how to swim is vital for youth, particularly minorities, because it creates more career opportunities and gives children a way to spend idle time.

“I was here every day and my brothers were here every day, and I think it kept us out of trouble, because we’d be so tired when we’d leave here from swimming all day that we couldn’t get ourselves in trouble,” Mr. Bell said.

The mayor emphasized the importance of the city’s pools in the wake of a news conference held by city councilman and mayoral candidate Joe McNamara on June 13 at the site of the former Ravine Park pool in East Toledo. That pool, which was built in 1969 and unused since 2008, was demolished about a week and a half ago.

At the news conference, Mr. McNamara accused Mr. Bell of being out of touch with the wants of the neighborhood’s residents. Navarre Pool now is the only public pool in East Toledo.

A recent study by Indiana-based Pros Consulting LLC, funded with money from the Toledo Athletic Commission Trust Fund and presented to Toledo City Council on Thursday, suggested Toledo remove all unproductive recreational services, possibly including some pools.

Mr. Bell said the Ravine Park pool, which closed before he took office in 2010, was demolished because it would have needed millions of dollars of repairs to be restored and it was dangerous to children while it lacked water.

In addition to Wilson and Navarre, the other Toledo pools that opened Monday are Willys, Roosevelt, Jamie Farr, and Pickford. Savage Splash Pad Water Play Park also provides reprieve from the heat, mostly for toddlers.

Sherrie Shipman, Toledo recreation and facilities manager, said Wilson Pool typically draws 70 to 100 children a day during the summer, a number that varies with the weather. She said some of Toledo pools reach capacity early on a hot day. “Generally during a hot day, we’ll have to close down after being open a couple of hours, because so many people want in.”

The pools will be open through Aug. 2. Admission is $1 for children 12 and younger at all sites except the splash pad, which offers free admission. Admission is $2 for those 13 years and older who use the Willys Complex and Roosevelt Pool.

Contact Sam Gans at: sgans@theblade.com or 419-724-6516.

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