MAYWOOD (CBS) — As the heat index soars into the triple digits, families often look to the community pool as a low-cost way to cool down.
But not in west suburban Maywood. The pool there hasn’t opened yet this year, as the village negotiated a way to have the local YMCA operate the facility to save money.
Wednesday marks the fourth-straight day above 90s, and kids in Maywood have been shut out of their town’s pool.
Now, there is hope. As CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports, the area YMCA has agreed to operate the pool for the village and the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, located at Third Avenue and Fred Hampton Drive, will finally open at noon on Friday.
David Parsons, chief operating officer for the West Cook YMCA, said officials do feel added pressure to open on Friday because of the heat wave.
“Absolutely. If we could open earlier, we would,” he said.
The earlier, the better for residents like Sunny Ray Wilson, who now can get close but not in the cool water.
She said it has been tough knowing that she couldn’t go swimming at the pool in Maywood.
“Yeah, because it’s been hot. And i was mad,” she said.
She was madder still because the pool was supposed to open Memorial day weekend. It did not, because six months ago the Village approached the YMCA to ask if they would take over the pool’s management. Cost was one factor that went into the decision.
Maywood Trustee Gilbert Guzman said, “I think in years past it cost about $42,000 and that stays in the bottom line.”
The deal between the Y and the village was only legally hammered out last week. So, right now, only the workers have access.
Maywood isn’t paying the YMCA a management fee. However, the Y will collect user fees to help pay for operating the pool. Maywood officials say the arrangement will save the village $40,000, and workers who would have been assigned to operate the pool are doing other jobs.
It is the first time the a YMCA has taken over pool operations in the Chicago area, although they have done it in other parts of the country.
Fred Hampton, the Illinois Black Panther leader who was gunned down during a police raid in 1969 in Chicago, grew up in Maywood and graduated from Proviso East High School. The pool was named for him in 2006.