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City grapples with pool closures, parks decline

Residents wait in a long line to enter the city’s parks and rec budget hearing.

Sacramento City Council and hundreds of residents Tuesday night listened to details of a $1.8 million general fund cut to parks and recreation that would leave only three of the city’s 13 swimming pools open by Summer 2012 and area parks in a state of decline amid reductions in park maintenance, trash pick up and general repairs.

Pools and green spaces are two potential casualties of a $39 million city deficit that could impact residents in large and small ways, including a swim on hot day or a drink of water from a park faucet.

Parks and recreation director Jim Combs said six area pools would remain open this summer including George Sim, Clunie, Pannell Meadowview, McClatchy, Johnston and Doyle. Only half of these pools are expected to be open by next summer. The department reported a cost of $100,000 per pool to restore operation.

Combs also outlined park maintenance for 2011/2012 that would reduce mowing to every 12-14 days and trash pick up and restroom cleanings to two times per week. Broken or damaged drinking fountains, benches and play structures would be removed in lieu of repairs. Combs said there are more than 50 drinking faucets currently out of service in city parks.

Residents from neighborhoods throughout Sacramento turned out to deliver impassioned pleas for community resources and protest cuts to the parks and recreation budget, which would also close all but three community centers by July 1.

Among those voicing concern about the loss of safe places for kids was Rev. Tony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church. “We need community resources just to survive in these times,” Sadler said.

Jane Adams of District 4 waited in a long line to address City Council and said the city would pay dearly for the proposed cuts.

“Overflowing trash cans, weeds and broken drinking fountains will do nothing to attract business to our city. It will not keep the Kings here,” she said. “I am willing to pay more for safe and clean parks and pools and community centers for our seniors, youth and veterans.”

 

 

 

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