This Sunday the United Pool Council is launching its Swim Berkeley Campaign with a celebration from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Willard Pool in South Berkeley.
Swim Berkeley is the joint effort of the United Pool Council and the Parks, Recreation & Waterfront Department to revitalize aquatics in the community. The campaign’s first aim is to prevent the five-month closure of the Willard Pool, a step City Council will take unless pool users raise the $60,000 needed to bridge the budget deficit and keep Willard open year-round.
Berkeley’s four public pools and the warm-water pool at the high school are under the purview of the aquatics division of the parks department. Concerned pool users formed the United Pool Council five months ago when they recognized the logic of working together to maintain services.
“If one is closed, it impacts the others,” said Karen Davis, a member of the pool council steering committee.
“City Council challenged us,” she said. “And we decided the only way to deal with cutbacks is to launch a campaign and expand. We want to add more activities in the fall, more swim lessons, more opportunities for seniors and the disabled. We want people to see the value of these neighborhood services.
“The pools don’t have to lay empty,” she added. “They can be filled, and are potentially very big profit centers for the community.”
The Sunday afternoon event includes a barbecue (hamburgers and hot dogs provided, or bring your own food to toss on the grill), sign-ups for fall programs and demonstrations of new activities that will available (including diving, aquatic aerobics and water dance). The regular public swim will take place as scheduled. Cost varies from $2 to $5 depending on age.
The Willard Pool is located on the southeast corner of Telegraph and Derby. For information about pool hours, swim lessons and other activities, call the city’s new Swim Berkeley hotline at 510-981-SWIM.