Pinedale pool opens thanks to anonymous donors

FRESNO, Calif.

Fresno city leaders haven't been able to find the money to open the pool for the past two summers, but generous donors have come forward to save the day.

At the same time, two other city pools remain closed, including the Fink White Playground in Southwest Fresno.

The city says it costs about $14 thousand to open a pool like this. That's money the administration claims it just can't come up with.

But when the plight of the pool in Pinedale hit the paper, private donors came forward and the scene there was much different.

A hot summer day at the pool is something kids in Pinedale used to take for granted. But this would have been the third summer in a row without a place to cool off and have fun.

Eight year old Lalane Angeles told Action News she really missed going swimming.

"Really sad. We didn't get to go to swim for the last two years until they opened the pool today," Angeles said.

The city hadn't planned on opening this shallow learner pool, or two others this year. They were hoping a community fund drive would get them open by next summer, but generous donors made this possible.

"This was triggered by a Fresno Bee article earlier in the week and what happened literally by 9 a.m. we had an outpouring of goodwill from some anonymous donors that came through with resources to open the pool this summer and even open the pool next summer," Shaun Schaeffer of Fresno Parks and Recreation said.

More than $20 thousand came in, most from donors who wished to remain anonymous. Community supporters have been struggling to raise the money, the surprise donations are a welcome boost to the community.

Margie Garcia Hildreth lives in Clovis, but came here, she said, to see the joy on the children's faces. "I just believe these children need something to do in the summer and these children so badly need this, and I'm so thankful the donor that gave," Margie Garcia Hildreth said.

"I just think it has a miracle quality to it. That children are in there having fun today," Adair Murphy said.

Pinedale community organizer David Rodriguez says opening the pool is a big deal for this area. "The number of kids that are out here now, if it wasn't here, where would they be, they could be at home stuck in the house or out on the street getting in trouble. Most of the kids plan to be back, every day," Rodrigiuez of Pinedale said.

"It's really fun and you get to make new friends," Lalane said.

The donations to open Pinedale Pool caught the city by surprise, and they scrambled to get the pool ready. There is enough money now to open Pinedale again next summer.

But the pool at the Fink White Playground, and two others at Quigley and Eisenhower will remain dry this year. The city is hoping a local nonprofit will raise enough money to have them open in time for next summer. The city says it costs about $14 thousand to open each pool.

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