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Church commits to funding Navarre Pool

City again seeking donations for facilities

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    Pitts

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    Sisters Madison Lemke, 10, center, and Hope Hayes, 4, right, swim together Friday, Sept. 5, 2014, at Kenwood Gardens Apartments pool in West Toledo. Temperatures reached into the upper 90's Friday afternoon throughout the Toledo area. Their father, Steve Hayes, of West Toledo, said both he and the girls were thrilled with the heat. "The summer was way cooler than normal," he said. "When it gets hot like this you can actually enjoy it." THE BLADE/KATIE RAUSCH

    Katie Rausch

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One down, five to go.

The city of Toledo is again soliciting donations to open six pools for the summer, and a local church has committed to fund the Navarre Pool in East Toledo.

George Sarantou, city finance director, said Bishop Michael Pitts of Cornerstone Church has committed to fund operations for the pool over the summer, an amount estimated at about $52,000.

The city is working to open six pools and a central-city splash pad with corporate and non-profit donations of cash and in-kind donations, as it did in 2015.

Bishop Pitts said the donation came about after conversations with Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson’s staff, and a recent focus by his church to try to revitalize East Toledo through family-friendly activities. The church renovated the Eastwood Theater, 817 E. Broadway St., and uses it for services and movies.

The theater is just blocks from Navarre Pool, and Bishop Pitts said that prompted the church to want to sponsor its opening to give families similar activities to ones he had when he was a child.

“When you don't have a pool to go to, kids are left with less options, and where there’s less options, they get into more trouble,” he said.

Bishop Pitts said the money has been raised through church collections, and nearly all the pledged funds had been raised already.

That’s important, since the city had trouble this week confirming whether all pledged donations to operate pools last year were actually donated.

Donation pledges in 2015 came from ProMedica, which contributed $150,000; the Northwest Ohio Building Trades, $90,000; The Andersons, $75,000; Fifth Third Bank, $10,000; and Spartan Logistics, $5,000.

But city spokesman Janet Schroeder said she could find no records that Spartan actually gave that money. A call to Spartan President Steve Harmon was not returned Friday. The money from the building trades was in-kind donations for free work provided by member unions, with the bulk of that work done in 2014, said Kevin McCarthy, city fleet and facilities commissioner.

The funded pools are:

● Roosevelt, 910 Dorr St.

● Navarre, 1001 White St.

● Willys, 1375 Hillcrest Ave.

● Pickford, 3000 Medford Dr.

● Wilson, 3253 Otto St.

● Jamie Farr, 2140 N. Summit St.

● The splash pad at 645 Vance St.

Former Mayor D. Michael Collins released a 2014 budget with no money for pools. Council later approved spending $266,199 of taxpayers’ general fund money in the 2014 budget to operate four pools and the splash pad. Council later approved another $73,700 to open Wilson Pool.

In 2014, Ms. Hicks-Hudson, then the city council president, led a drive to solicit donations to open Wilson and Jamie Farr pools in North Toledo. The 2015 city budget also included no money for pools, prompting the mayor to seek donations.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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