Like a Cool Dip? Pools to Stay Open In Winter

Like a Cool Dip? Pools to Stay Open In Winter
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 9:25pm

Pools will not be closed during the winter months as was proposed in a recent city council meeting. While some think these pools are a luxury, others say they need them to stay fit.

"Well I was in a nasty car accident several years ago so I've got a lot of arthritis," said Gale Melpolder swims laps as often as she can at Armijo Aquatics Center.

"It makes me feel better it keeps my cholesterol down."

And she knows the kids playing here get a lot of out of the pool, too.

"The pool was just packed with kids and it was serene."

You wouldn't think you could cut water, but one city representative tried.
Steve Ortega wanted to close down city pools during the winter months, an effort that would free up hundreds of millions of dollars.

"Quite frankly, in these times, having swimming pools accessible in the winter is a luxury, not a necessity," Ortega said.

Ortega says when the city is trying not to increase taxes, and the police department is in jeopardy of being furloughed, something's got to give.

"That was my argument. Tough times call for some tough decisions and some of our services are discretionary," he added.

City Council didn't agree. They voted down the proposal saying that pools are a necessity to El Paso, something that aquatics supervisor Stacey Wright is happy to hear.

"You'd lose a lot of college scholarships for the high school swimmers, there would be no competitive swimming in El Paso," Wright said.

Stacey says their swim lesson attendance and public swim numbers continue to climb. So far in the last fiscal year, they've already seen an increase of over 20,000 people, not to mention those who attend water aerobics.

"They need to get some sort of exercise and aquatic exercise is the best way they can," Wright said.

Because without these amenities, Gale says her quality of life would drown.

"I would gain weight my joints would freeze up."

A day of swimming will cost you two dollars if you're an adult and one dollar for children.

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