Eleven city pools are slated to open this week. Not on the list is the Sue Murray pool in the North Side neighborhood of Allegheny Commons.
The decision came down to a lack of lifeguards and public safety concerns, but community members think the pool is unjustly getting a bad reputation.
“That’s what concerns me most is the narrative that is being created,” Reverend LeeAnn Younger said.
Younger is the lead pastor of Cityview Church on the North Side. She knows the area and the kids who use the pool, and believes public safety concerns are overplayed.
“There has been a lot of talk about public safety concerns, but the pool not opening will contribute to public safety concerns,” said Younger, who insists the neighborhood youth need a place to go.
Now kids will go without a pool in their neighborhood this summer if something is not done.
“This was a problem that was created by misreading data,” Younger said.
The data she is referring to is the number of 911 calls. According to city officials of those 58 calls; 13 involved drug overdoses, disorderly conduct, trespassing, and fights.
Councilman Bobby Wilson who represents the district said of those 58 calls,13 involved drug overdoses, disorderly conduct, trespassing and fights.
“The community relies on this pool so a lot of instances that have happened inside the pool require just more supervision,” Wilson said.
“It is just going to require community leaders as the ticket takers or the first person you see at the pool,” he said.
Wilson added that community members already have stepped up and the city is ready to pay them, now the biggest concern is filling the open lifeguard positions.
“An empty pool says a lot more about whether this is a thriving community here, and there is a thriving community here,” Wilson said.
Officials said 12 lifeguards are needed. When those individuals are certified, the pool will open. Click here to learn more about the positions.