Memphis city pools close for the summer next Saturday, parents say that’s unfair

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MEMPHIS, Tenn — Parents said they are upset because the outdoor pools in their communities are getting ready to close for the summer next Saturday even though one of the pools just opened this week.

School doesn’t start until August 10.

Parents said they don’t understand why the pools can’t stay open longer.

“You hear this in black neighborhoods, you don’t hear this in the white neighborhoods,” said Vera, who didn’t want to give us her last name.

Parents in Frayser who send their children to Ed Rice Community Center during the summer said the pool just opened this week.

The city said it opened later because of mechanical problems, meaning Apasia Sea’s kids couldn’t swim there for most of the summer.

“That’s important with all these kids drowning at community centers,” Sea said.

Dewanna Smith, a spokeswoman for the city, said keeping pools open longer would require additional resources and a budget increase.

Vera believed that was just an excuse.

“You’ve got the kids here, they’re going to be out when’s school starting, couple weeks, three more weeks, and you’re going to close it why?” she said.

Smith went on to say the city hired students and teachers for the seasonal jobs and they needed time to prepare before heading back to class.

“I’m inclined to agree with the community,” City Council member Wanda Halbert said. “We pay taxpayer dollars for these services, and if there is something that prohibits us from getting those services, then I don’t see what the problem would be to keep the pool open a little longer.”

Halbert also said a notice should have gone out to make the public aware of the problem at Ed Rice Community Center.

She said she hoped Mayor A C Wharton and the parks director will consider keeping the city pools open at least until school starts again.

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