Fewer BREC pools for people looking to stay cool

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POSTED: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 7:15pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 7:17pm

The recent high temperatures are great news for BREC, which has seen large numbers of people at its pools.

"Yeah, it's been pretty busy," said Candace Allen, a lifeguard at Liberty Lagoon. "We've had a lot of kids and families come out and just play out here in the water."

"In fact, last Saturday, we had a record number of people come to Liberty Lagoon," said Cheryl Michelet, a BREC spokeswoman. She said 15,000 people have visited Liberty Lagoon in the three weeks since it opened.

But people looking to escape the summer sun have fewer options this year than they did in 2012.

The pools at Gus Young Park and Anna T. Jordan Park in Scotlandville are both closed for the season for repairs. Construction is currently underway at Anna T. Jordan park and is expected to end this fall.

The pool at Gus Young Park sits empty and untouched, because of a drainage problem discovered beneath the pool. It will not open again this season, and there is no estimate for when construction there will wrap up. That is disappointing to kids like Javonte Cummings, who said he used to swim there, "almost every day. Or every other day. I'll say every other day."

"We're still looking into, how much will it take to fix that pool, developing a plan and seeing where the money will come from in order to afford that," Michelet said.

People who visit Jefferson Highway and Webb Memorial parks will not see those pools ever again.
They are both being filled in and covered over. The high cost of maintaining a pool was partly to blame, but their removal was also a result of BREC's "Imagine Your Park" strategic plan.

"And in both of those areas, the neighbors really weren't interested in keeping the pools," Michelet stated.

BREC has three pools open to the public this summer. Liberty Lagoon is open until 7:00 p.m. every day. The pools at Howell Park and Brooks Park are reserved for swimming lessons and camps until 1:00 p.m., and then the public may use them until 5:00 p.m.

A warm day also can lead to bigger paychecks for lifeguards.

Liberty Lagoon always keeps at least 25 lifeguards on duty. But when management expects it to be crowded, they will bring in extra employees just to be safe.

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