Only Seven City Pools Open This Summer

Friday, May 15th 2009, 6:02 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Many viewers are wondering whether Tulsa's shrinking budget will sink city pools or whether kids will be able to swim this summer.

Seven of Tulsa's 21 pools will be open this summer, but they require a small fee to get in.

"It's not like it was 30-50 years ago when the only pools available were the park pools," said Bob Hendrick with Tulsa Parks.

The same seven pools that were open last summer will again be open this summer, but the admission fee is $2 per person.

"It takes at least $25,000 in maintenance just to get a pool ready to open," Hendrick said.

Tulsa Parks raises $100,000 a year from private donations and sponsorships. One anonymous donor has given $20,000 each year for the past several years just to keep the pools open. Despite the donations, it's still not enough to open all the pools.

"We just don't have that," Hendrick said. "It's sad. It's just unavailable at this day and age."

"It's sad that there are 21 pools and only 7 are opening," Tulsan Susan Keirn said. "Right now everyone is in money troubles, so I guess the pool is the last of my worries."

The pools scheduled to open this summer include Lacy, McCLure, Manion, Reed and Zeigler Park. Those pools will have the fee. The two junior pools, Berry and Whiteside, will still be free.

Another free option is the splash pads popping up in place of pools.

"We hit the splash pads," Keirn said. "We already hit the new one at 41st and Riverside twice. We went Wednesday and Thursday, and it was a blast. We love the new splash pads."

"It's cost effective," Hendrick said. "We don't have to have a lifeguard for a splash pad. It's just a good investment in this day and age."

The summer swim season will kick off with a pool party. The Beach Bash will be at McClure Park on May 30.