BALTIMORE (WJZ)— Budget crunch. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wants to close more than half a dozen swimming pools. The controversial plan has outraged some city parents.
Adam May has new reaction from the mayor.
Major pools will not be shut down, but they might get busier with swimming options dwindling.
Seven of Baltimore’s smaller neighborhood pools could be all dried up but the new plan to close them for good has many city parents upset.
“I just hope they don’t close the pools,” said one mother. “Then what the kids gonna do? That’s what sends them to the corners, ’cause they have nothing else to do.”
The city faces a $48 million deficit and the mayor says the closures are necessary.
“You have to choose your priorities and prioritize your spending on things that matter most to families,” Rawlings-Blake said.
The mayor hasn’t named which walk-to pools would be shut down but they’re targeting the oldest ones with the lowest attendance.
“They’re obsolete and what young people enjoy are the splash pads we’ve been installing,” Rawlings-Blake said.
The city has plans to open more of the splash pads, like the one at the Inner Harbor. Also, as part of an ongoing overhaul with Park and Rec services, the city’s busiest and biggest pools will see expanded hours.
Some council members are against the change.
“We have resources I don’t think we’re creatively using as much as we could,” said Councilman Carl Stokes.
Baltimore’s not alone in this issue. Over the last few years, dozens of major cities across the country have shut down pools in this rough economy.
The City Council still has to approve the mayor’s budget.