‘Taking From The Poor To Give To The Rich’: Oceanside Decides Which Pool Opens, Which Closes
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Photo by Tania Thorne
The City of Oceanside awaits the debut of what they are calling “a world-class aquatic center.” The El Corazon Aquatics Center, set to open this summer, will feature two big pools, a splash pad, locker rooms and much more.
But concerns about the costs of operating this new facility were brought up during the Feb. 3 city council meeting. One suggestion to offset the cost: closing the Brooks Street Swimming Center, an older public swimming pool that has been operating since 1959.
The idea was quickly criticized by Mayor Esther Sanchez.
“I am really surprised that this would come up and that we would be taking from the poor to give to the rich. That’s what it looks like,” said Sanchez.
Residents and community members are also speaking out about the proposal and have started a petition to keep Brooks Street open, stating, “Closing Brooks Street pool would essentially take community benefits from a low income area and allocate those benefits to a more affluent neighborhood.”
The Brooks Street Swimming Center is located in the highest density neighborhood in the city, within walking distance of Oceanside High School and the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside.
Before the pandemic, the swimming center was known to be frequented by low income families of District 1, as well as a high school swim and water polo team.
As of now, the Brooks Street pool is only open for adult lap swim, some high school sports and the Oceanside Swim Club.
Jodi Diamond, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside, says the pool is a staple for her club and one of the free walking field trips she can offer to all of her members, 63% of whom are children of color.
“Every summer, we have walking field trips to the Brooks Street pool and over 500 youth every summer are able to learn water safety skills, practice swimming and also just be a kid and swim,” said Diamond.
The new El Corazon Aquatics Center is located in the Rancho Del Oro neighborhood, over four miles away from the Brooks Street pool.
“They’re not able to walk to the El Corazon pool, it's just not realistic for the families that we serve and the demographics we serve,” said Diamond.
Council members will decide whether to keep the Brooks Street pool open at the Feb. 24 city council meeting.
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