CITY HALL — The council approved $53,112 in next year’s fiscal budget to keep the McCambridge Park Pool open through October on a trial basis after several complaints from residents.
The extension, which will be paid for out of the general fund, is part of the citywide fee scheduled to be included in 2008-09 fiscal year’s budget that was approved by a 4-to-1 vote on Tuesday.
“The city is not the same place it was 12 years ago . . . people are hungry for healthy activities,” Councilwoman Marsha Ramos said. “Like me, for example. I am getting older and my knees can’t put up with running like they used to, so I need to pursue other activities like swimming.”
Extending McCambridge pool’s yearly schedule is a way to measure the success of a longer pool season, City Manager Mary Alvord said. The council will review its results next year and renew it based on its popularity, she said.
“It is a pilot program designed to measure the success of a extended swimming season,” she said. “If successful, it will help to open the dialogue in the city as to how our existing aquatics program could be significantly improved.”
Lap swimmers, such as resident Bob Schmitt, asked for the city to have an outdoor pool open year-round, which was cut from the city budget in 2002.
“When the Burbank pool closes, I and many other swimmers have driven to Van Nuys, Glassell Park, Valley College, the Rose Bowl and more distant locations to swim, which is very frustrating,” he said.
Resident Lillian Fernley also complained of having to drive far distances to swim.
“Swimming as been very important to my family, both my children who are now grown were year-long swimmers,” she said. “With the contemporary gas prices now, it is very difficult to drive kids out to the pool after school.”
Although extending the pool season will cost the city, users fees will make up some of the funds, said Clay Evans, who runs the Southern California Aquatics, an adult swimming club.
“They do charge us to get into the pool . . . users pay up to $5 for a lap swim and swim teams are charged as well,” he said. “So there will be some positive cash flow going back to the city.”
Pool day passes for residents are $5, $2.50 for seniors and $7 for a nonresident. Monthly passes can also be purchased by residents for $45 or by nonresidents for $50, said Garth Nelson, deputy director of Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services.
“I can’t predict the financial impact that extending the pool season will have yet,” he said.