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Kids Finding Too Few Pools of Relief in Durham

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DURHAM — A day at the pool is a great way for kids to beat the heat, but some people say there's not much of that type relief in Durham. The problem: too many kids and not enough pools.

Durham's parks and recreation department builds such things as pools through a system of service contacts. That means, every time someone visits a facility, it constitutes a service contact.

Currently, nine Durham public pools serve 90,000 service contacts.

Durham is a city accustomed to shortages these days. Complaints of too few police officers, fire fighters and rescue workers have been heard for months.

Officials say, as far as pools are concerned, the city is doing the best it can.

The Kids Country Summer Day Camp, for instance, rented out the Long Meadow pool for the day Wednesday. A troop of children from North Durham were able to beat the heat for at least one day.

Inner city children who live in the adjacent neighborhoods will have to wait a few hours to pay $1.50 for their cooling dip. The parks and rec staff says it has to work hard to create schedules allowing everyone in who wants to swim.

"There are never enough pools and never enough hours in the day to get everybody in," said Malgosia Atkinson, manager of Durham Aquatics. "I'd love to see a couple more outdoor facilities in different areas of the city."

Officials say the greatest need right now is for a facility in the southwest portion of the city. Officials are considering using some bond money to build a pool there, but it won't happen this summer.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
MJ Ainsley, Web Editor

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