If the opening of Schenectady’s pools this year were a swim test, the city would have failed. It was a classic case of confusion and poor communication.
The city has four pools — Front Street, operated by the YWCA, and Central Park, Quackenbush and Hillhurst, all operated by the Rotterdam Boys and Girls Club. Just one of them, Central Park, was scheduled to open Saturday, the second day of summer.
That’s not ideal, but it normally wouldn’t be a problem because the Central Park pool is big and can accommodate a lot of swimmers. Not this time. A truck that was supposed to deliver chlorine broke down and the city couldn’t open the pool Saturday. But no attempt was made to get the word out, so people started showing up to swim, only to be told they couldn’t and to come back Monday.
On Monday, though, the pool still wasn’t open, thanks to mechanical problems with the plumbing and pumps.
Again, no effort was made to inform the public — and one woman said she called the city and was actually told it was open. So people came and, on a day when the temperature hit a high of 92, were turned away again. It wasn’t until Wednesday that the problems were finally solved and Central Park was open for swimming.
This is not to minimize the difficulty of maintaining four pools — old ones with creaky equipment — and getting them up and running each summer. Unforeseen problems occur. In fact, Schenectady residents are very fortunate to have these pools, which offer not only swimming but excellent programs, when, not that long ago, it looked as if the city would have to close most of them for financial reasons. Central Park even has a new surface — and, soon, a new chlorine pump.
The pools are needed. But so is a plan for letting people know if they’re not going to be open as scheduled.