Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carlton: A particularly cool pool worth saving

The Cuscaden Park pool in the V.M. Ybor community closed in 2009. Repairs will cost $1.5 million.

Times (2007)

The Cuscaden Park pool in the V.M. Ybor community closed in 2009. Repairs will cost $1.5 million.

In the center of Tampa is a very cool pool.

Yes, all public pools are cool to some degree, because it's Florida, and it's hot, and there is nothing like the blue chlorinated water of a pool when you don't happen to be lucky enough to have one handy in your back yard. A public pool is like a local park or a library branch you think of as your own, a perk to make living where you do that much better, a thing about which you can say: Okay, this is why I pay taxes.

So all city pools are something, but a particular historic one in Tampa is also something worth fixing.

The Cuscaden Park pool was built 77 years ago by the Works Progress Administration as a Depression-era project. The red brick oval building around the above-ground pool, like Tampa's old cigar factories, is the kind of structure that keeps a city interesting, the likes of which you don't expect to see built again.

More critical, though, is Cuscaden's public purpose.

When you took swimming lessons at the city pool not far from your front door as I did, when you were in the water for hours with other neighborhood kids till your fingers puckered and your eyes stung, when you spent long summer days learning lifesaving skills and mastering the highest diving board, well, you get what a public pool can mean. And it's hard to imagine a neighborhood that would appreciate this kind of amenity more than the urban V.M. Ybor community of old bungalows where the Cuscaden pool sits.

Actually, where it has been sitting closed because of cracks, leaks and filtration system problems since 2009.

Fixes to reopen the old Cuscaden pool will cost $1.5 million. And members of the mayor's staff recently told the City Council that they don't expect money to be budgeted to repair it before 2016. Which means at least another two summers before the first Tampa kid can even think about cannonballing in on a blazing hot day.

Understandably, some council members would like this to be reconsidered.

So here it is instructive to note a particular previous clash over a public pool in Tampa.

Then the conversation was about the closed Williams Park Pool, after another pool in a more affluent part of town reopened and Williams Park did not. The City Council member representing the neighborhood intimated he would vote against the mayor's budget unless there were funds for a fix, and the mayor said he needed only four of seven council votes anyway.

Drama, yes, but last summer, both were standing there under the July sun as the cameras clicked, the pool reopened and the first overjoyed kids splashed in. It can happen if you make it happen.

The mayor's staff did work up a litany of options for the Cuscaden Park pool — and for the neighborhood — ranging from putting in a splash park next to it without actually fixing the pool itself (price tag: $1 million) to building a new 50-meter pool and community center there ($10.8 million). Creative ideas.

But if they aren't ready to spend $1.5 million now — by the way, not a big drop in the overall budget bucket — how likely is it they would want to come up with nearly $11 million later?

The bottom line is that a neighborhood should be able to use its pool. Seems a pretty good time for a city to prioritize, work together and find a way to fix something cool worth saving.

Carlton: A particularly cool pool worth saving 06/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, June 13, 2014 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows

    Health

    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  2. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    President Donald Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House with members of the GOP on May 4 after the House passed legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act. [Cheriss May | Sipa USA via TNS]
  3. Tarpon Springs psychic charged with defrauding veteran, widow out of $155,000

    News

    TARPON SPRINGS — A psychic was arrested Tuesday after police said she scammed two clients out of more than $150,000.

    Gina Wilson
  4. St. Pete Economic Development Corporation lures marketing firm MXTR to town

    Economic Development

    St. Petersburg Economic Development Corporation has lured its first big catch to St. Petersburg — MXTR Automation. The digital marketing company announced Wednesday that it will fill 20 "high-wage" creative positions within the next 18 months, as well as open an office in downtown St. Petersburg this year.

  5. Hernando sheriff: Middle school staffer accused of sexually assaulting student

    Crime

    SPRING HILL — A staffer and coach at Fox Chapel Middle School was arrested Tuesday, accused of sexually assaulting a student on the school's campus.

    Marcus Wells, 34, an in-school suspension monitor at Fox Chapel Middle School, was arrested Tuesday on allegations that he sexually battered a student, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. He was fired by the school district. [Photo courtesy of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office]