Pittsburgh City Council wants better pool policy

Pittsburgh City Council passed on ordinance Tuesday that council members said is the first step toward clearing up confusion over rules governing access to the city’s 18 public outdoor pools.

The ordinance requires the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure each pool “has the necessary number of lifeguards and other trained personnel to ensure the safety of all persons” and directs the department to work with youth groups and other organizations to ensure attendance does not exceed capacity.

It also calls for the director to develop a policy “for providing free and/or reduced swimming pool tags to low- and moderate-income youths who reside in the city and for organizations who provide summer programming for any city youth and to provide the mayor and council with a report detailing the necessary budgetary impacts.” The ordinance also allows pool tags issued to groups to be used for individuals during regular pool hours.

The goal is to clear up confusion about what provisions should be enforced and to prevent children from being turned away if they showed up with tags but without the groups the passes were issued to, Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said.

“There was a lot of miscommunication” about the existing policy, she said. “When there’‍s an absence of youth programming in a neighborhood, there’s an increase in youth crime.”

Robert Zullo: rzullo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3909. Twitter: @rczullo.

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