Burbank Council vote is a splash with swimmers

The Burbank City Council agreed last week to keep the Verdugo Pool open all year after dozens of Burbank swimmers, some wearing swimsuits and goggles, showed up to City Hall last week to support year-round programming.

When the renovated aquatics facility, located at 201 W. Verdugo Ave., debuted last summer, the city agreed to a 365-day test.

City officials reported a "tremendous amount of success" in the city's aquatic program, with lap swim numbers more than quadrupling, and recreation swim numbers nearly tripling, according to Judie Wilke, director of park, recreation and community services.

"The 'wow' factor at Verdugo certainly had an impact," Wilke said.

Burbank High School varsity swimmer Madigan Roll said having the pool open helped her team's grades — the team was recently recognized for having the highest collective GPA of any athletic team school wide.

"Having the Verdugo Pool open is a huge part of this accomplishment," Roll said. "We used to have to drive 45 minutes to get to a club team. It was very taxing on our parents, and took time away from academics and family time."

On top of that, Roll said she had the opportunity to swim earlier this month with Dara Torres, a 12-time Olympic medalist.

After a year under their belts, city officials believe they can expand programming at the Verdugo Pool.

"It's a shining star in our community," said Councilwoman Emily Gabel-Luddy. "It is new, it has great opportunity."

Officials project that city coffers will have to subsidize year-round programming to the tune of $101,146, as they anticipate generating $213,890 in revenues to run the $315,036 program.

The cost includes funds for a number of special events at the pool slated for next year, including "April Pool's Day," a floating pumpkin patch, and a winter "polar plunge," Wilke said.

At the request of Councilman Bob Frutos, city officials plan to add a "Rock-A-Hoola" night for seniors to that list.

"People are loving the pool," Frutos said. "It's being used basically around the clock."

A final vote on keeping the pool open year round will take place when the council considers the fiscal year 2014-2015 budget next month.


Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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