South Merced could get its pool back.
The city has tentative plans to re-open McNamara Pool on June 7, but the decision rests on securing enough money to keep it operating throughout the summer.
"We are hoping to open the pool," said Mike Conway, city spokesman. "We are still seeking all sorts of sources of money for that, a variety of funding from the community and from within the city."
It would cost an estimated $60,000 to $70,000 to repair and run the pool through Aug. 12, he said.
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The cost would include employing lifeguards, installing a new pool liner and adding an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant pool lift, he said.
The city effort to reopen McNamara Pool comes after a special council meeting earlier this month in South Merced. City officials made a rare visit to the neighborhood to listen to concerns of residents, who, among other things, urged the reopening.
They called it a safe haven for neighborhood children during the summer and a positive alternative to activities that could get them into trouble. They cited the supervision at the facility and the family-friendly environment as keys to making the pool an invaluable asset in South Merced -- one that needed to be restored.
This is the second year in a row that all three of Merced's city pools, including McNamara, were expected to be closed to the public. City officials had said there weren't any funds in the Parks and Community Services Department budget to reopen all of them.
The city is hoping to find enough funding, including some from donors and private sources, to at least open McNamara Pool.
With the difficulty the city is having coming up with the money to reopen even one pool, Conway said finding the enough to open the other two is a huge challenge.
Joey Chavez, recreation supervisor, said installation of the pool liner at McNamara would begin Tuesday and the city hopes to finish by June 3 or June 4. He said it was up to the community to decide what hours and days the pool will be open.
Tiffany Ruiz, who grew up with her grandparents around the corner from the park, recalled swimming every day in the pool for about eight years. Using the pool during the summer is what kept her friends out of trouble, she said.
"I would come back every day," she said. If the pool re-opened next month. Ruiz, 22, says she plans to bring her 4-year-old son. "I want him to come too and keep it open for the families."
There will be a walk Monday to support efforts to reopen the pool. It's being organized by residents who live in and around South Merced, said Tamara Cobb, one of the organizers. The walk will start at McNamara Park at 5:30 p.m. and end at City Hall.
"We want to open that pool and make it vital. The whole idea is the city has cut the budget for children to zero and the recreation budget to zero," said Cobb.
The city is recruiting lifeguards to work at the pool from June 7 through Aug. 12, according to a news release. The lifeguards would work four days a week, and there would be some flexibility in shifts and hours, the press release stated. The salary ranges from $8.59 to $10.44 per hour.
The job application can be found at www.cityofmerced.org or the front counter of the personnel office on the first floor at City Hall, 678 W. 18th St. The deadline to apply to become a lifeguard is 5 p.m. Friday.
For more information on the application, or to donate funds, please contact Joey Chavez at (209) 385-6978.
Reporter Ameera Butt can be reached at (209) 385-2477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.