Updated 06/21/2012 08:50 PM
Keeping cool with one less pool
Those who search for relief from this week's scorching temperatures at Rome's municipal pool have a disappointing discovery in store. For the second year in a row, the city's second-largest pool will remain dry. Our Sarah Blazonis tells us why and where people can go to cool off this season.
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ROME, N.Y. -- Babysitter Chris Flihan did his part Thursday to help his young charges beat the heat.
"Because that pool has been closed twice so far two years in a row, this is the best way right here to keep the kids nice and cooled off," said Flihan.
He's talking about Rome's Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni Municipal Pool. It was left dry last summer for construction and this summer for budget constraints.
"You see a lot of people going over there and looking," Flihan said. "They see that it's not open and you can tell they're disappointed."
Mayor Joseph Fusco Jr. says it costs the city about $30,000 to make sure the pool is staffed and maintained.
"We're looking at the numbers. We're looking at the numbers of the money we have to spend and the numbers of the population in the community. It's almost half of what it was years ago and we're making adjustments wherever we can," said Mayor Fusco.
And while this pool may be under lock and key, city officials say residents do have other options when it comes to keeping cool.
The city's four other pools, including the Tosti Pool, opened earlier than planned because of this week's heat wave. Tosti and Uvanni are the largest pools, while the other three are meant for younger swimmers.
The mayor says he's reaching out to residents near Uvanni to see if transportation issues would keep them from cooling off.
"If they can show me that there's a need, even if we have to use a shuttle bus to run back and forth, that would be considerably cheaper," said Fusco.
Mayor Fusco says attendance at the pools and at summer programs will be monitored to make sure resources are being used in the areas they're needed most, meaning it's uncertain when the Uvanni pool could reopen.