GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The warm weather has a lot of people thinking about taking a dip in the pool. Add officials city hall to that list.
Pending City Commission approval, which is expected to happen in the next two weeks, three city pools will be open this summer at Richmond, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Briggs parks.
Pools at Highland, Lincoln and Campau parks remain closed as victims of city budget cuts.
"Weather starts turning warm, kids start getting out of school, everyone's looking to get out to the pools," James Hurt, the city's director of Public Services, said.
As in past years, they will operate on a short schedule, opening July 1 and closing Aug. 17.
Admission will remain the same. City residents 17 and younger will have to pay $1. Non-city residents will pay $2. City residents 17 and older pay $2. Non-residents pay $4.
As the city waded deeper and deeper into the fiscal crisis of the last five years, private donors dove in to make sure three pools opened. But that funding has pretty much dried up.
"There's so many demands on people time and their money. The city's been looking for a sustainable model to run the pools," Hurt said.
The city has set aside $603,000 from the taxpayer-supported General Fund to open the pools.
With cash flow now dependent on the General Fund, and the risk that something now considered a quality of life enhancement at City Hall could disappear from future budgets, the city is once again trying to find a more stable funding source.
Ideas include selling the pools, renting them and offering sponsorship opportunities have been discussed. But so far, no one at city hall has come up with a long-term solution.
"I think we'll continue to fund it. We're just going to find creative ways to make that happen," Hurt said..
With the 2013 swim season preserved, the city needs to hire life guards. Applications are available at the city's website.
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