Photo by PoPville flickr user Lorie Shaull
Ed. Note: In June we spoke about a similar issue at Banneker Pool on Georgia Ave.
While I’m not generally supportive of private swim clubs renting out DC public pools (pretty tough to watch the elderly, pregnant women, and children forced to leave the public pool for a group of adults – many not even living in DC), I can understand the argument that the private rentals cater to a particular segment of the swimming market and draw some revenue. However, at Dunbar, they are now taking over, with rental times dead square in the middle of the public evening swim times through the work week (Dunbar is closed Tuesday and Thursday).
Four weeks ago, Dunbar public swimmers were informed that they would lose 30 minutes of public swim on Wednesday nights to a private swim club that had moved its hours from 7:30-9:00PM to 7:00-8:30PM. I wrote DC Parks and Recreation noting that this change essentially gave the private swim club a free half hour (the pool closes at 9PM and no one will go to the pool at 8:30PM for a 30 min swim) and asked for an explanation of the decision. It took 26 days and multiple emails to city council members to get a response (which explained teh decisions as “seemed negligible”).
But it gets worse
, last Friday, I was informed that the same private swim club has rented Dunbar pool from 6:30-8:00PM on Fridays. (Note that the private swim club again gets basically a free hour from 8-9PM when the public is very unlikely to be there). When I complained, the lifeguards said that the private swim clubs are getting kicked out of other public pools so DC Parks and Recreation is just moving them around.
If you’re one of the displaced Dunbar swimmers or you believe that the public pools should be for the public (or you maybe you just think that DC government should be accountable), please send an email to the director ([email protected]) and pool coordinator ([email protected]).”