JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Four of Jacksonville’s public pools are still closed, more than a month after they were supposed to open for the summer.
Two are in the urban core, one is in Englewood, and one is in North Jacksonville.
Three of those four pools are in predominantly black neighborhoods.
The city’s 34 public pools are supposed to be open from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day.
Action News Jax reported in May that eight pools were closed for repairs.
After our story aired, the city fixed and reopened four of them.
The four that remain closed are:
- Harts Road (Eartha Napoleon) Pool, 11597 Harts Road
- Englewood High School Pool, 4412 Barnes Road
- Robert F. Kennedy Pool, 1139 Ionia St.
- Julius Guinyard Pool, 1358 Jefferson St.
On a hot, humid afternoon, kids in the city’s Rec N’ Roll program are jump-roping, shooting hoops and sweating at a public park just steps away from the Julius Guinyard Pool.
The pool has been closed to the public for more than a year.
Rec N’ Roll recreation coordinator Eldre Allen said the kids she works with in the urban core want to know when it will reopen.
“They ask me all the time. And we tell them the same thing over and over again: I really don’t know,” Allen said. “The bottom line is, the kids need the pool. The communities need the pool. We’re paying for the pool. We would like to use the pool.”
The Robert F. Kennedy Pool in the urban core has been closed for six months because of a leak. City records said the entire main drain line needs to be replaced.
Those records also said the city is in the bid process to repair a leak at Englewood High School Pool.
The Harts Road pool in North Jax needs a new motor and pump assembly, according to those city records.
Both of those pools have been shut down since December 2018.
“I think it’s unacceptable for the pool to have been closed as long as it has. People have been coming out and having cookouts and everything and the kids can’t even enjoy the pool,” said William Smith, who lives near the Harts Road Pool.
The Harts Road, Robert F. Kennedy and Julius Guinyard Pools are in predominantly black neighborhoods.
That’s important because 64 percent of African-American kids don’t know how to swim, according to the USA Swimming Foundation.
They’re also three times more likely to drown than white children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“A lot of my kids want to learn how to swim and now they don’t have the means to learn how to swim because the public pool is closed,” Allen said.
Action News Jax asked city spokesperson Nikki Kimbleton about those demographics.
“We can’t control, unfortunately, which pools were breaking down. All we can do is try to make sure that they are safe when they reopen and get them fixed as soon as possible,” Kimbleton said.
Action News Jax asked Kimbleton why the pools weren’t fixed over the winter.
“That’s a great question. Some of these pools were actually being fixed over the winter. Some of the problems were just so severe,” Kimbleton said.
Kimbleton said the administration will request money in the upcoming budget for more pool repairs.
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