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City still trying to pool resources

It's going to be a long, hot summer.

When Amy Harken moved to Magnolia Park in spring 2008, the Verdugo Park community pool was one of the selling points of the neighborhood. Coming from Northern California, Harkin's family was not used to the heat and was happy to have access to a local pool.

The pool at the Verdugo Recreation Center opened in 1948 and was an Olympic training site for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.

Since fall 2008, the pool has been empty.

Both community pools in the city are more than 50 years old and have far exceeded their lifespan, said Marisa Garcia, the city's deputy director of recreation services.

Two years ago, the Verdugo facility began to lose large amounts of water. Further analysis by the city determined it could not be reopened and would require a full renovation.

The facility will be replaced with another 50-meter pool, including an activity area with a "kiddy pool" and slides, as well as a locker room.

The $7.3-million renovation has been approved, with the money coming from redevelopment funds left over from the construction of the police and fire headquarters in downtown Burbank.

The city has waited to inform the community about a reopening until a date has been set, officials said. In the meantime, the pool at the McCambridge Recreational Facility has seen increased usage. Burbank has also entered into agreements with local high schools to use the facilities for lap swimming and classes.

"We're trying to serve the community as best we can with our limited resources," Garcia said. "We have a lot of longtime residents of Burbank, and I think they understand."

In the meantime, Harken said she and other neighbors have taken matters into their own hands, investing in "Slip 'n Slides" and kiddy pools.

"With the limited hours the McCambridge pool is open, it's just hard to hard to get the kids in a hot car and make the drive," Harken said. "It would be much easier to walk."

The Burbank City Council is expected to award the construction contract during the fall with a proposed completion date of fall 2011.

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