Long, hot summer calls for low city pool fees

June 23, 1999|By Elizabeth Heubeck

A BOOMING economy and balmy weather have helped draw a steady stream of people to regional resort towns in recent weeks.

Most of those heading to the beach can gather the two-way $2.50 toll for the bay bridge by collecting change from under the floor mats and in the ashtrays and cup holders of their cars.

Back in Baltimore, that amount could go far. It could cover the increase in entry fees for 10 children at any one of the city's neighborhood swimming pools.

The 25-cent increase in the admission price at 14 such pools this season, up from 75 cents to $1, is enough to keep many children from enjoying temporary relief from the heat. A steeper increase is in effect at pools in the city's five parks, $1.50, a 50-cents boost, and season passes are $25, up from $15.

Did the city consider asking corporate sponsors and private citizens to chip in to help prevent this? Sure, it's the first such increase in nine years, but many parents simply don't have the extra money.

So what does this mean for the children who are left outside the swimming pool fence?

There's always the illegal practice of opening fire hydrants. The hydrants' proximity to the street can make for a dangerous pastime, with young children, who are oblivious to the danger, darting in and out of traffic.

Many will find little relief from the heat at home, where there's likely to be little or no air conditioning.

We've enjoyed mostly mild weather so far this season, but the hottest days are ahead. This means lots of backups on the bay bridge.

While waiting for the traffic to thin, some people might consider collecting some of their loose change for the kids back home.

Elizabeth Heubeck is a Baltimore free-lance writer.

Pub Date: 6/23/99

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