Merced City Council considers pool funding

FRESNO, California

Many who live in south Merced told Action News they just want a place for kids to cool off during the hot summer days to come. But they're also hoping it will keep them out of trouble.

Dozens of people gathered in south Merced's McNamara Park Wednesday. They're hoping when this city-owned pool opens in a few weeks it won't just be a one season event.

Tamara Cobb is with Building Healthy Communities, a group focused on improving the quality of life in southwest Merced. "This is it as far as entertainment, as far as any activity. This is the place, the only place in south Merced," Cobb said.

19-year-old Merced College freshman Janique Johnson isn't angry with city leaders, she just wants youth to be a priority.

"We need to have something to do to stay out of trouble. It's going to be hot this summer. I think that the pool is a place that we come together," she said.

The pool at McNamara Park has been closed for two years. The city's pool plan was to just let it sit dry this summer. But many in the community helped the city find private donations to pay for repairs, lifeguards and other operating expenses.

Unfortunately, the pool's future is still murky as the city wades through a two million dollar deficit for the next fiscal year.

"Nothing is a done deal," said Merced city council member Mary-Michel Rawling. "And I would think that with such an outcry from the community for supporting the opening of the pool continually that it seems like that would be a common sense thing to add back into the budget."

The pool is set to open the week of June 11th. But another problem remains. The pool's pump is decades old. If it goes out the cost of repair is estimated to be in the $60,000 range. That is something the council says will not be in the budget. The other two city-owned pools will remain closed this year.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.