Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster reconsiders pool closings

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor Bill Foster has issued a challenge to neighborhoods that want to save two city pools from closure.

Use them or lose them.

Foster said Friday that he is working on a plan that will keep the Shore Acres and Jennie Hall pools open — if attendance spikes this summer. He said he hasn't decided how much the attendance would have to climb, but said the public has to prove to him that the pools are necessary.

"If more people come out and stress the fact that having a pool in their neighborhood is a public need, and they demonstrate a need by increased usage this summer, then I would absolutely consider keeping them open," Foster said.

Foster announced on May 7 that he planned to close four city pools next year in an attempt to close a projected $12 million to $14 million shortfall in the 2011 budget. A few days later, after hearing complaints from residents, Foster said he planned to close only two pools. Foster said he proposed to close Jennie Hall because it has the lowest attendance in the city and is too close to another pool, E.H. McLin. Shore Acres was chosen because it has low attendance.

At a Wednesday community forum, Foster heard more complaints from residents who said the two pools were important to their neighborhoods. Closing Jennie Hall, in particular, drew scorn because of the pool's historic significance. When it was built in 1952, the Jennie Hall pool was the only one in St. Petersburg where black residents could swim.

That same night, the Council of Neighborhood Associations recommended against closing either pool.

Although it's used by fewer residents than other pools, Jennie Hall's attendance has surged since 2005. In 2009, it drew 5,036 residents, 66.5 percent more than in 2005. That increase is more than any other city pool, including North Shore, the top pool in the city.

"I thought it was a bad idea from the beginning," said CONA member Steve Corsetti. "I hope the mayor's just testing the waters, but he's getting a whole lot of people upset. Especially as far as Jennie Hall is concerned, it sends the wrong message at the wrong time."

Foster said he's listening to comments from the public and trying to be as responsive as he can while still considering all possible options in cutting expenses.

"This is an evolving plan," Foster said. "You always try to keep thinking of scenarios. You just go back to the drawing board and go through the budget line by line every day. There's not a day that goes by when I'm not doing that."

Michael Van Sickler can be reached at (727) 893-8037 or mvansickler@sptimes.com.

St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster reconsiders pool closings 05/21/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 22, 2010 12:50am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Crist votes for measure that includes money for Trump's wall

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON – Rep. Charlie Crist was for it and against it.

  2. Tampa man arrested in fatal motel shooting

    Crime

    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested on a manslaughter charge Thursday in the death of Yasmine L. Tyson on Monday night.

    Christopher Lee Carithers, 37, of Tampa
  3. St. Pete's Downtown Looper expands service with $900,000 grant

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG ­— The Downtown Looper will expand its route and its hours starting in October 2018 thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation.

    A $900,000 DOT grant will finance two more trolleys, a longer route and longer service hours.
  4. Latest sewage crisis fallout: Higher utility bills in St. Pete

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — For months the cost of the city's sewage crisis has been measured in terms of environmental damage, legal ramifications and political repercussions.

    Now residents are about to get the bill.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September 2016 to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage during the height of the city's sewage crisis. Now the City Council is considering how much to raise utility rates to pay the $326 million bill to fix St. Petersburg's sewage system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Rays add a bat, too, acquiring Lucas Duda from Mets

    Blogs

    The Rays made another big move today, acquiring 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.

    Duda, 31, is a lefty slugger who will take over as the Rays primary DH against right-handers, with Corey Dickerson now playing most of the time in the outfield.

    To get Duda, the Rays gave up minor-league RHP Drew Smith, …

    The Rays acquired 1B/DH Lucas Duda from the Mets.