In the middle of a heat wave, Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation Department announced Monday that only 47 of the city’s 69 outdoor pools will open on a rolling basis beginning Wednesday, while 22 will stay closed this year.
Sixteen public pools are expected to open by this weekend, and an additional 30 are scheduled to open over the next 10 days. Pools will be open seven days a week and offer daily open swim and free swim lessons.
The hours have not yet been announced, but they will vary by site and will be posted on the city’s Parks and Recreation website.
“We’re pleased to be able to provide residents, and especially young people, with the chance to make some great summer memories as we continue to safely emerge from this pandemic,” said Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.
Many of the 22 pools that will stay closed are in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.
According to an Inquirer analysis, 73% of the pools that will stay closed are in zip codes with a median income of less than $40,000. Only 27% of the pools that will remain closed are in zip codes with a median income of $40,000 or higher.
Among the pools that are reopening, 53% are in zip codes with income below $40,000 and 47% are in zip codes with a median income of more than $40,000.
Access to water is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, where one can pick up an essential life skill — learning to swim — and enjoy the basic comfort of cooling down on days it’s too hot to think.
According to Maita Soukup, the city’s parks and recreation spokesperson, the city prioritized opening the largest and most heavily used pools in areas across the city.
“In order to make sure that every neighborhood had access to a pool, we looked at the number of visitors and the size of the pool,” Soukup said. “The pools that were the busiest and were the largest were prioritized for opening.”
If your closest pool isn’t opening, there may be another one nearby — many pools are grouped together closely. When pools became popular in Philadelphia back in the mid-19th century, they were highly concentrated, much like Catholic parishes. But over the years, usage of pools in some neighborhoods fell off.
For all of the city’s 69 outdoor pools to open, the city needed to certify more than 400 lifeguards. To date, only a little more than 200 lifeguards have been certified, despite the fact that the city raised the minimum wage to $15.25 an hour.
Here are the 22 pools that will remain closed
12th & Cambria (2901 N. 12th St., 19133)
Amos (1817 N. 16th St., 19121)
Baker (5433 Landsdowne Ave., 19131)
Belfield (2100 W. Chew Ave., 19138)
Chew (1800 Washington Ave., 19146)
Cohox (2901 Cedar St., 19134)
Cruz (1431 Sixth St., 19122)
Dendy (1501 N. 10th St., 19122)
East Poplar Playground Pool (820 N. Eighth St., 19123)
Gathers (2501 Diamond St., 19121)
Hillside (201 Fountain St., 19127)
Hunting Park (900 W. Hunting Park Ave., 19140)
Lawncrest (6000 Rising Sun Ave., 19111)
McVeigh (400 E. Ontario St., 19134)
Morris Estate (1610 Chelten Ave., 19126)
Mill Creek (5100 Parrish St., 19139)
Myers (5803 Kingsessing Ave., 19143)
Piccoli (1501 E. Bristol Ave., 19124)
Ridgway Park Pool (1301 Carpenter St.,19147)
Shuler (3000 N. 27th St., 19132)
Waterloo (2501 Waterloo St., 19133)
Ziehler (200 E. Olney Ave., 19120)
Here are the pools that will be open, and their opening date:
Wednesday, June 30
Thursday, July 1
Friday, July 2
Saturday, July 3
Tuesday, July 6
Wednesday, July 7
Thursday, July 8
Friday, July 9
Saturday, July 10
Pools that are opening soon:
The following pools are scheduled to open soon, but the date has not yet been announced.