Budget boost helps revive historic pool - FOX 13 News

Budget boost helps revive historic pool

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Ybor's historic Cuscaden Pool Ybor's historic Cuscaden Pool

It’s summer in Tampa, and Deven Cooley - that's really his last name - has nowhere cool, to cool off.

"If it's hot out, I just stay inside," he said.

It's a cruel joke.

Just three blocks from his grandpa's home in Ybor City, is a city pool that hasn't been open since 2010.

"The kids could use something," said Cooley's grandfather, Selmar Jackson. "They run around all day here just about doing anything."

Cuscaden pool first opened in 1937.

In 2005, cracks and leaks forced the city to sink in $2.5 million for repairs.

The fixes failed; the great recession hit, and Ybor City's kids were left out to dry.

"When you come outside and there's no pool, all you do is sit in the hot sun," said Cooley.

But now, with construction projects and new tax money, an expected $15 million deficit will only be $8.4 million.

The mayor says they can afford to contribute $300,000 to fixing Cuscaden this year, and $1.5 million next year.

"Tampa has created more jobs than anywhere else in the state of Florida," said Mayor Bob Buckhorn. "So it gives us a little bit of a cushion as we get out of this recession."

Like when the old downtown courthouse was turned into a hotel, the mayor is showing he likes projects that save city history.

But he gets really passionate about the pool for another reason.

"The number of drownings, particularly in the minority community, specifically in the African-American community, is really significant," said Buckhorn. "Those young people need an opportunity to learn how to swim because it may save their life someday."

The only drag is time.

Cooley will need air conditioning until the pool opens in at least three years.

"You can just cool off in the pool and you don't even have to go in the house and turn on the air or anything," said Cooley.

Councilor Harry Cohen says he agrees that now is a good time to spend money on the pool.

The mayor planned to give his budget presentation Wednesday morning, and he said closing the deficit will be done without layoffs or drastic cuts in the city budget.

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