Summer is a time when many families in and around Northeast L.A. splash around in swimming pools. After all, the kids aren’t in school, there’s time to kill—and it’s hot.
Though there was much jubilation across the city as seasonal pools opened on Saturday, June 23--that joy was tampered by news that they'll be closing on August 12, three weeks earlier than last year.
The cuts were made as part of the city's effort to close a $238 million deficit in the fiscal year 2013 budget, which was approved in May.
Nina Zippay, a Mount Washington parent, said the closure of the Highland Park pool would affect her family "deeply."
"My daughter's grades improved by putting her in water polo in the spring. Now the city cuts out a program that resulted in better academic performance," Zippay said. "Meanwhile, Mount Washington parents spend over $10,000 of our own money to support one hour of P.E. a week. It's simple nonsense."
The Olympic-size pool in Glassell Park has long been used for competitions by students, who also use a City pool on the outskirts of the , across from the school campus.
“August is our hottest month and we’re devastated,” said Claudia Estrada, the manager of the pool, which is located a stone’s throw from the crossing on Eagle Rock Boulevard and Verdugo Road.
“That’s awful,” Gina Biehn, a Glassell Park resident who visits the pool regularly with her preteen son, told Patch Monday when informed about the pool’s impending closure. “Soon, people are going to have no libraries, no schools, nowhere to go—what are kids meant to do on all these [vacation] days?”
Visitors can sign a petition against the pool’s closure at the reception area for the facility at the recreation center. An online petition can also be signed by clicking this link and pleas made to the office of Council Member Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor and under whose jurisdiction the Glassell Park Rec Center falls, at (323) 478-9002. Click here to join an 'Occupy Glassell Park' Facebook campaign to oppose the pool's imminent shutdown.
The City of Los Angeles' Citywide Aquatics Division, where Aquatic Director Jon Kopitke and Acting Principal Recreatiion Supervisor I Trish Delgado have their offices, can be reached at (323) 906-7953. The division's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.