Alexandria residents rally to save local pool

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Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

Alexandria - They need thousands of dollars to save their summer, and with time ticking, the Alexandria citizens in a recent YouTube video are diving right in.

Dozens of kids and their parents marched in the streets to start their campaign. Their goal is to raise $50,000 to save their summer and fix their pool.

"This is it for us and we want to hang on to it," said Penny Stevens, Save the Summer campaign.

Alexandria leaders say tough economic times have made for a tight budget. Last year the pool cost the city $80,000 to operate, a cost that city officials say they can't afford this year.

"We can't afford the pool; the $50,000, and afford all the help the city needs for the workers," said Bob Stinson, Alexandria City Council.

City leaders decided close the pool this summer instead of cutting jobs.

"We can't do both. That's what it comes down to," said Stinson.

The big problem is a leak that developed in the pool's lining last summer which not only left the pool losing water, but the city losing money.

"We were replenishing that water and the chemicals and that type of thing. So yes, it cost quite a bit," Stinson said.

That's why kids like Derick Wyatt are saving their money and raising it too.

"It's exercising. It cools you off and you can be there with your friends," he said.

"What are these 200 kids going to be doing every day if they're not swimming? If they're not exercising here?" wondered Vanessa Hosier, Save the Summer.

"I would probably just be at home, bored. Doing nothing," Derick mused.

So far, about $16,000 of the $50,000 needed has been raised.

"We really believe we can do it," added Hosier.

They have 50-plus days and counting to raise $50,000 to start the summer with a splash.

Indy Parks pools

Alexandria isn't the only community with pool problems. Indy Parks says it will cost $7.5 million to repair nine leaking swimming pools. Now they have to figure out how to cover the costs.

The parks department will replace Bethel Park Pool because it leaks 100,000 gallons of water a day. It will stay closed for two years. The Wes Montgomery pool could be closed just as long.

Gustafson Pool, Willard Pool, the La Shonna Bates Indoor Aquatic Center and the Thatcher Park Indoor Pool all face temporary closure for repairs.

"We're really looking at how this will impact users, how close other pools are. We've had conversations with the YMCA for example, where their pools are, and we're looking at transportation poss partnership with IndyGo or on our own to help kids and families move around a little bit," said Stuart Lowry, Indy Parks director.

Indy Parks says it will hold public hearings before the repairs begin.