At long last, McNamara pool in Merced has reopened to the public. It was closed last summer for budget reasons, but community leaders, businesses and non-profits raised enough money to get it back open Thursday. It’s the only public pool people can use in Merced.
On the count of three, the gate opened to over a hundred eager kids. Some swimmers jumped right in.
“Flipping, diving, cart-wheeling, cart-diving, all that,” said Keith Davis, who utilized the diving board.
Other kids waded with their friends in the shallow end. It's been two years since people have been able to cool off here. Shana Wright brought her daughter to the same place she used to play at a child.
“I think that it's a blessing because this is what we did all summer, every single day,” said Wright.
McNamara pool in south Merced might still be closed if it weren't for a community-wide effort. Ben Duran, President of Merced College, says once people heard about the need, checks poured in from all over.
“We got $50 checks, hundred dollar checks, $5,000 checks. So it was just a lot of folks saying, we're willing to do that,” said Duran.
It costs about $25,000 to open the pool for the summer. The money is for upkeep and to pay staff, like lifeguards. The Merced County Sheriff's Department chipped in $5,000. Sheriff Mark Pazin says it's money well-spent.
“Could you imagine if all these kids and young adults were just on the street? Idle hands are the devil's workshop,” said Pazin.
Instead, they'll be at the pool, staying active and having fun. McNamara Pool is open Thursday-Sunday from until August 12th. It costs $1 to use the facility.