Plenty of families chose to beat the heat at Lincoln Park on Saturday for the opening of the park's pool. Though open, structural issues and racial struggles remained.
The pool is currently leaking about 1,000 gallons of water daily, making it hard to keep the pool filled to capacity. Some of the water has receded leaving a part of the area in the pool dry.
Lincoln Park Alliance organizers are trying to raise money for much needed repairs to keep the more than 80-year-old pool in the community. It’s not only where many south end residents seek relief on a hot day, but to also learn the vital skill of swimming.
Cyenah Lawson says she didn't learn to swim as a child, so she brings her kids to the pool to end that cycle.
"Part of breaking generational curses is being able to introduce the next generation of my family to water activities and being able to swim," Lawson said.
And that's important to her because the CDC reports there are about 3,000 drownings each year and one in five of them are children under the age of 14. The CDC also said that rate increases significantly among African Americans — who are five times more likely to drown than their white counter parts.
"A lot of kids who grow up in urban areas don't learn how to swim because there aren't access to pools and opportunities to learn how to swim, so that's why its really important for this pool to stay here," said Sam Fein, Albany County legislator.
Brian Adams and his son said hearing the pool could disappear was shocking.
"It means a lot to me to come down here with my child or just see people that was kids with their kids," Adams said.
Everyone says they will support whatever needs to be done to keep this vital resource running.
"It's really putting pressure on the city and on all stake holders to ensure this pool stays or if it replaced a similar model stays," Sam Fein said. “Things happen very fast with kids and I feel it’s important to teach them how to learn to swim at a young age to avoid accidents.”
The Red Cross will be offering swimming lessons at the pool all summer long.
There was an ice cream fundraiser to help raise money for the pools repairs on Saturday.