City pools spared from budget ax - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City pools spared from budget ax

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Kids in the Klondike neighborhood of North Memphis used the swings in their namesake park Thursday as they looked forward to "making a splash" in the adjacent Memphis city pool.

"It keeps kids out of trouble, from getting hurt, going to jail and stuff," said 15 year-old Markeith Brandon.

The possibility of the pools remaining padlocked touched a nerve with some city council members.  They claimed the cost-saving cut would have too heavily hurt impoverished neighborhoods.

"We've got a large group of disenfranchised individuals living in this city and we've got some decisions to make," said councilwoman Wanda Halbert at the beginning of Thursday night's budget committee hearing.

"It's just...a bad situation," added councilwoman Barbara Swearengen Ware.

Deciding where to stream-line in the Parks Division without harming children did not come without intense discussion.

"And I think many of us was frustrated because we're talking about closing swimming pools," said councilman Harold Collins.

In the end, money for administration took a hit and a decision was made not to fill some open positions.

And while the future of four public golf courses remains unclear, all city pools will soon be in full "swing" again.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton proposed cutting $4 million from the Parks Division.  The council reduced that tonight to $775,000 and saving the pools.  The issue of those golf courses will be decided before the final budget is approved.

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