PUEBLO – The pool is dry at the Pueblo YWCA. Executive Director Zelna Joseph explained that some pipes broke in June which flooded the basement.
Those repairs were initially delayed by high demand on pool service companies over the summer. But then Joseph and the board stopped to consider whether maintaining a public pool is still worth it.
“We are 6 months into a strategic planning process and maybe we need to look at whether or not we can continue to sustain the operation of a public swimming pool,” she said.
Instead of making money for the charity’s core mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the pool has been draining funds. Joseph explained that it loses around $52,000 per year. That deficit doesn’t include salaries for the pool director and lifeguard.
“Raising membership dues and pool fees will not going to make up the difference,” she said. “And so, we are really faced with a tough decision as to whether or not we can afford to keep this pool open.”
There are also security concerns to think about; the YWCA operates a women’s shelter here.
Joseph said it’s a tough decision because she realizes many seniors in the community love the pool and want to use it for therapeutic reasons. She said the community can help by contacting the City Council to tell them how important the facility is.
“If the pool is that important to so many citizens in this community, then maybe the city will look, will step up and bring some money to the table to keep the pool operating.”
The City reportedly offered to give the YWCA $4,000 to help with those immediate repairs. Nothing has been offered to help with the ongoing expenses that put the future of the pool in doubt.