School’s out and summer is here. To cool off in the heat, four city pools will be opened, free for city residents as usual and will again be operated by The YMCA of Trenton.
Last year, the city sought to outsource the operation of city pools. The YMCA put in the only valid bid and was awarded a contract at a cost of $205,515. Once the 2015 contract is signed, this year’s planned cost will be slightly more than that, $216,000, because the pools are expected to be open two extra weeks.
With plans to revamp the city’s recreation department in limbo, the YMCA is hoping to run the pools more efficiently while spicing up their overall presentation.
The public-private partnership had a pool audit performed this year and will be using data to track swimmers. Residents will be asked to register with the YMCA before using city pools. The registration process is free, and will allow officials to map where swimmers are coming from and to analyze what neighborhoods are underserved.
For instance, three of the four opened pools this year are in the North Ward. Cooper Pool is in the South Ward, but borders the north, so there might be geographic challenges for some residents. Hetzel pool will be closed again due to structural damages and the YMCA’s own pool will be closed this year for renovations, with eventual plans to create an indoor experience in two years.
The data tracking will also allow the city and the YMCA to make sure only Trenton residents are using the pools. This is because swim memberships in Mercer County are expensive; for example the average cost for a resident family pass in the bordering townships of Ewing, Lawrence and Hamilton is $343. So some local suburbanites, might be taking advantage of Trenton’s gratis accessibility.
“Our taxes here pay for the (life)guards,” said CEO of the YMCA and Mercer County Freeholder, Samuel Frisby. “Because the pools have been free forever, the city had never registered people. So we’re going to try and register people, so we have that data.”
The pools will also be undergoing cosmetic renovations. Frisby said he felt many pools were “concrete, ugly spaces.” The YMCA pulled out beach chairs and lawn chairs to “make it look like a country club, but not a country club,” according to Frisby. “When the pool area looks better, people treat it better. We want to give residents what they deserve: a stellar, safe and self-inviting pool . . . the YMCA is here for the community; we don’t make a ton of money on this particular contract,” he continued.
Frisby noted that the YMCA will attempt to offer swim lessons if there’s demand, in addition to camp and public swims.
The four pools open will be:
The swimming season will be from June 28th — September 11th, roughly one week before Fourth of July weekend and one week after Labor Day. Pools are scheduled to be filled this week, and must pass safety and water sample inspections before opening.
The pool schedule:
Monday — Friday
10am — 12pm for summer camps
12- 1 break
5 -6 break
1pm — 8pm