With bathing suits on and towels in hand, more than a dozen kids sat outside the Central Park swimming pool gates on Monday, sweat dripping down their red faces as they struggled to understand why the pool was closed.
The Central Park pool was scheduled to open Saturday the first of the four Schenectady city pools to open. But the truck delivering chlorine for the pool broke down, delaying its opening, according to Jeremy Howard, the mayor’s assistant and office manager.
“So they couldn’t get us any chlorine in time,” he said.
The pool was rescheduled to open Monday. Once again, it did not open. “There is a problem with the chlorine,” Howard said. “And we are trying to make sure the chlorine pump operates correctly.”
The Central Park pool is run by the Rotterdam Boys & Girls Club, which operates three of the four city pools. According to Julie Rouse, the summer park director, a mechanical issue delayed the pool’s opening Monday. Rouse was not aware that the chlorine truck broke down Saturday.
“We have an unforeseen mechanical issue with the pool,” she said. “The city is working very hard to get it up and running.”
As the temperature continued to rise Monday, the patience level of people at the pool gates looking for answers decreased.
“They lied,” said April Schrom, 27. “And we called. We have been coming since Friday and it is like 90 degrees outside. And having to bring our kids up here for apparently no reason at all is utterly disgusting.”
Schrom, who had several children with her at the pool, said she called the city to check if the pool was open and was told it was. When she arrived at the pool around 11 a.m. Monday, she was then told by the staff it was not open and would not open for a few days.
“People are walking all the way here,” she said. “And getting false information.”
Kyle Delaney, 49, also brought his kids to swim. They sat at a picnic table outside the pool instead, visibly upset.
“Bummed out,” Delaney said.
One of the little girls sitting with him added, “We have our bathing suits on.”
Thandwid Providence, 32, came to the pool with a group of 15 people, more than half of them children. He said his daughter was also wearing her bathing suit and was excited to swim.
“She came all the way from Albany to swim,” he said. “I was planning on jumping in.”
Many of the people who came with Providence and his group walked or biked to get to the pool. One father and son biked all the way from Broadway.
“It’s hot, too,” Providence said. “Really hot.”
Temperatures reached a high of 92 Monday, according to Ian Lee of the National Weather Service in Albany. It was four degrees shy of the record set in 1943.
The Central Park pool is now scheduled to open Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., according to Howard.
“We just want to make sure the pool is operating correctly,” he said, “and all safety measures are taken before opening it up to the public.”
The Central Park pool was not the only city pool that was surrounded by confusion on Monday. The Front Street pool, operated by the YWCA, was as well.
On Monday, the Schenectady Inner City Ministry was stationed at the pool to hand out lunches as a part of its free summer lunch program. Although the program had a successful day in other parts of the city, it only gave out two or three lunches at Front Street. The program usually hands out 20 to 30 lunches when the Front Street pool is open. Schenectady Inner City Ministry was not aware the pool was closed.
“It seems our messages just got crossed,” Allison Williams, the lunch program’s director, said. “No big deal for us. Monday we will be back at work there.”
The Front Street pool is scheduled to open Friday at noon, according to Howard. The Quackenbush pool on Forest Road is scheduled to open Saturday. The Hillhurst Park pool on Campbell Street is scheduled to open Monday, July 1.
Schrom said she is fed up. On Saturday, she was desperate to find a place where the kids could cool off.
“We ended up going to Schoharie Creek because there was nowhere else to go swimming,” she said. “Schenectady is the only place that doesn’t have pools open.”