Jackie Robinson YMCA reopens pool after seven-year wait
After seven years without a pool, hundreds of kids and family members were at Jackie Robinson Family YMCA in southeast San Diego on Friday to enjoy the grand opening of the facility’s aquatic center.
Jackie Robinson Family YMCA executive director Anna Arancibia said this has been a long time coming.
“This pool is more than just a pool. It's a symbol of access, community and belonging for all," she said. "With this new incredible amenity, we hope to create a positive community gathering space that provides everyone access to opportunities that lead to happy and healthy lives.”
On the hot, late June Friday, San Diego City Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe told the crowd almost 80% of low-income children have never taken a swimming lesson.
“This is alarming because we also know that drowning continues to be one of the top accidental deaths of our kids, especially in the summer months,” she said. “So giving our children a place to take swimming lessons close to our homes can save lives in the future.”
YMCA Board Member Gene Bailey said the community has been asking for this project for decades but lacked the funding until recently.
“So to the youngsters who are listening today: big dream, dream big, work very, very hard and never, never, ever give up,” he said.
Official hours for the pool are still undecided and will depend on the ability to staff much-needed lifeguards.
But swim lessons will begin at the new pool on July 5, and the center will be offering 70 free swim lessons in the coming months.