Board to decide pool's fate

Swimming pool revenues don't even cover lifeguards' wages.
YOUNGSTOWN -- As some regular users protest the prospect of closing the YWCA pool, the board of trustees will discuss the fate of the deficit-plagued pool, which is in need of major renovations, when it meets Wednesday.
"We are ascertaining its viability as part of this building -- as part of the community," said Connie Shaffer, YWCA executive director.
When the 27-member board meets at 5:30 p.m. in the YWCA tea room, it will discuss doing partial or full pool renovations and various options, including raising pool use fees, curtailing hours or closing the pool, she said.
Without providing figures, Shaffer said pool use has been declining, and pool revenues don't even cover the lifeguards' wages. One of the 1950s vintage pool's major needs is replacement of water circulation pipes, and the locker rooms also need renovation, Shaffer said.
Recently, the pool has been opening an hour later than usual due to the Dec. 20 retirement of one maintenance man and the absence of another, who suffered an injury and is expected to return Jan. 14, Shaffer said.
Letter: "It's not only an important health facility, but it's an important part of the downtown community. We shouldn't lose another thing in downtown Youngstown," said Christine Davidson of Youngstown, one of 10 regular swimmers there who signed a letter to the board opposing the pool's closing. "Several of the people who swim there have health problems that require swimming and aquatic exercise," she added.
Davidson, who swims there at least three days a week, said she pays $130 a year for unlimited swimming, plus a $25 annual locker charge -- fees that are substantially lower than those at other local pools, she said.
"Swimming is one of the healthiest exercises anyone can do. By closing the pool, you would take that opportunity for a healthy lifestyle away from many people. It would not only damage the reputation of the YWCA; closing the pool would also damage the community," the letter says.

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