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Baltimore Residents Angry About Proposed Pool Closures

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(credit: opengreenmap.org)

(credit: opengreenmap.org)

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With summer just a few months away, Baltimore City’s neighborhood pools are once again in jeopardy. Under the mayor’s new budget, the city stands to lose seven of them.

Kai Jackson explains why neighbors and some city leaders are outraged.

Few would argue that pools are a vital part of recreation, especially for young people. Now there are calls for compromise over closures.

When it’s blazing hot in Baltimore, nothing cools kids off more than a pool. Yet this year, as in years past, there may be fewer of them to take a dip in.

“It has to be a concern that we’re closing any resources for young people and for neighborhood residents,” said Councilman Carl Stokes.

The Department of Recreation and Parks wants to close seven of 13 walk-to pools, also known as neighborhood pools, this year. A spokesperson for that agency says just as the city is facing a budget shortfall, so is Recreation and Parks.

Members of the City Council say they have no power to add anything to the mayor’s budget that she submits to them; they can only make cuts. They’re hopeful she’s willing to compromise before any pools are closed.

Recreation and Parks says from inspection to maintenance to staffing, opening and operating a city pool is expensive.

“All of us on the City Council want to work toward a good solution for young people in this city and for opportunities for young people,” Stokes said.

Under the Recreation and Parks plan, the city’s two indoor pools would be open during the summer. Normally, they’re closed during the break.

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