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Philly’s best-kept secret

November 12, 2008

Francisville swimming pool. RIP
met at the Francisville swimming pool.

Now gone.

Mayor Nutter announced sweeping city budget cuts and the library closings are getting all the press at the moment. With this cold weather the public pool closings are easy to overlook, but to me it’s much more sad.

I know most of you probably aren’t too worried about public pools because, well, you haven’t, nor did you plan to, dip a toe in one. Ever. But as I ranted to anyone who would listen this summer, Philly’s public pools are were frickin’ awesome.

The above pictures were taken this summer at the Francisville swimming pool located at 19th and Winter Streets in the Francisville neighborhood of North Philly. My ‘hood. And it’s nothin like all you chickens think it is. These pictures reveal a typical day at the pool. No crowds (hell- barely 15 people on a given afternoon), well-behaved kids, and very clean. Now it, along with 68 (out of 81!) other pools in the city, are getting the ax.

Taney swimming pool near 25th and South Street is also closing. It was used extensively by children from Markwood Playground which lies in a now-gentrified area of south Center City.

The pool in my old neighborhood in the Pennsport section of South Philly had much earlier death. I walked by it this Spring and noticed that it had been concreted over. I really hope the rest of them don’t meet a similar fate. It was so nice to walk the kids there on a sweltering summer day. Yeah, the hours sucked, but it was free. No memberships, No fees, no pretenses. A lot of summer camps used the pools daily too.

This is a huge loss for the children of Philadelphia.

Here is a map of all public library and pool closings.

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