The summer heat is scorching, and for many in Baltimore, there is not much of an option to beat the heat.
Councilman Zeke Cohen is raising questions about the closure of three Baltimore City public pools.
Summer is more than half over, and still, Cherry Hill, Lake Clifton and Patterson Park pools remain closed due to ongoing repairs.
Cohen wants Baltimore’s Department of Recreation and Parks to open the gates as soon as possible.
“When we think about what actually prevents violence from occurring before it happens, having safe places for our young people to be is mission critical,” Cohen said.
Baltimore residents agree.
“The pool is usually a safe area,” said Donte Reed, who lives in Cherry Hill. “Places like the pool or the park or basketball court, a safe area where the kids can go and not get into too much trouble. Something to look forward to, it’s not really too much to look forward to in places like this.”
Aysa Hubbard, who also lives in Cherry Hill, had high hopes for the community’s outdoor pool to be open this summer.
Instead, she remains disappointed.
“It hasn’t been open all summer,” Hubbard said. “I moved here before the summer so I thought they were working on it and preparing it for the summer, but there’s been no updates.”
Residents near Patterson Park are dealing with the same problems.
“We used to spend a lot of time in the pool,” said Allison Ramirez. “It was a nice idea but now we go outside, the kids are like, ‘It’s too hot. I want to go back home.’”
Recreation and Parks Director Reginald Moore said funding isn’t the problem — most city pools are more than 50 years old and need updates. Inspections of the pools began in the spring, he added.
The department hopes to reopen the Lake Clifton pool this summer. The Cherry Hill and Patterson Park pools are undergoing renovations and will not reopen until 2024.
“Our No. 1 priority is their safety, not just young people, but adults and everyone that uses our amenities,” Moore said. “We ask for patience but I can assure you that our agency has a plan to address the pool needs.”