Local News

Pool-Goers Lack Public Use Options

Posted May 22, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Made your Memorial Day weekend plans yet? A dip in the pool would be pretty cool. There are lots of private clubs with pools. but if you want to bring the family to a public pool, you may have a problem.

A majority of the parks and rec departments in the Triangle say they don't have enough pools. Raleigh has eight, but says it's still falling short. So come this summer, some daily rates at the Raleigh pools will double to ease the overflow.

Living in a fast growing area like ours means not enough roads, not enough schools, and also, not enough pools.

Swimmer Kristan Keelan says it's frustrating trying to swim in a lane with ten other people.

In Wake County, there are nine public pools, all owned by the city of Raleigh, except for one in Wake Forest. Raleigh built its last pool in 1992. But since then, Wake County's population has gone up nearly 50%, adding a whole new wave of swimmers to the mix.

To stem the tide of non-residents swimming in Raleigh pools, the city will charge them as much as $5.50 a day to swim, nearly double what it used to be.

Evelyn Dean, a swimmer, says she will rarely come to the pool at all if the prices go up.

Still, neighboring Wake County doesn't plan to add to the area's pool stock anytime soon. It's a matter of priorities.

"When you look at what we perceive as the biggest demand," Parks and Rec Director David Carter explains, "athletic fields, and more passive parks, like we operate, more regional parks, has been the focus we've followed over the last 20 years."

Wake County adds that many of the subdivisions there own their own pools, decreasing the need for a public facility. Cary, a town of 85,000 people in Wake County, lacks a public pool. But when the idea of building one was put to a vote in 1994, it was defeated by a 2-1 margin.