Garfield Pool in 2009.

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Avid swimmer Jane Wilson was distraught on Monday when she called Mission Loc@l.

The city had indefinitely closed Garfield Pool, her favorite swimming spot of 20 years and the only indoor public pool in the Mission District.

By Friday the pool’s future looked more secure after the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department staff met with Wilson and Bob Gamino, the athletic director from John O’Connell High School.

The pool, on 26th and Harrison, is one of the city’s most popular pools and serves students from Garfield and John O’Connell as well as local residents.

Mission Loc@l called the Recreation and Park Department frequently this week to verify details, but the department is under water trying to balance its 2010-2011 budget and hasn’t been particularly responsive.

The pool was closed in November for routine maintenance. Wilson says the pool had not been maintained since 2007, but no one in the city could verify this. Wilson alleged that the maintenance was delayed because the attention went to fixing another city pool, North Beach.

Parks and Recreation drained Garfield pool and noticed it needed significant repair including a new liner. Because there isn’t a budget for the roughly $75,000 liner and an additional $45,000 in new lights and other repairs – the department is broke  – officials were uncertain of when they could get the funds together to fix Garfield.

Wilson and other swimmers were understandably upset to discover that their pool’s maintenance may have been deferred to the needs of a tonier neighborhood’s pool, but now it appears that the aquatics division will get the repair money from the Open Space Contingency Fund, which the Recreation and Parks Commission will vote on in March.

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Anrica is a science reporter and twice Cal grad, with a degree in engineering and a master of journalism. She's a Bay Area native and lives in Oakland. She's enjoyed wide-ranging professional endeavors, including shoveling manure, researching human signaling proteins, volunteering in a leprosy hospital, using an atomic force microscope, and modeling the electricity grid.

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12 Comments

  1. I’ve swam Garfield 6x/week since moving to SF from NYC in 1989. Take a close look at the pix above, and you’ll see a gorgeous, vibrant, albeit older (50’s vintage era) pool. I can safely say that all of us Garfield swimmers love our neighborhood pool–and equally so the deep friendships (across all cultural lines, ages) that have grown between us over years of swimming together. This makes Garfield more than a mere pool. It is a beacon of health, community, comradry and joy to us–especially in this dire “recession” when our city, national and personal finances are so compromised. That said–Garfield swimmers celebrate SFRP’s decision to work with us Mission area citizens–and find the funds to restore/reopen Garfield pool. We also thank Supervisor David Campos/District 9 for his support–and work with SFRP in behalf of Garfield. Just one quibble with this article: the ending. The reporter casts Garfield swimmers as being “frustrated for funds diverted to more “tonier” hoods/pools” This is not so. Garfield swimmers believe in swimming for all humans, all ages, all communities, etc. All SF neighborhoods need their pools–and SFRP maintenance and funding. The Mission (Garfield pool) neighborhood is no exception. We want our pool to remain open, too. And when Garfield does rise from its repairs in April, the pool will have a new shell and the locker rooms/facility will be freshly painted. Please come and give Garfield a swim, if you’re not a “regular.” I suspect you’ll make note to self to show up again…

  2. I am a disabled woman living on Bernal Hill who has swum at garfield over the last 15-20 years. There are many disabled people in the neighborhood who cannot make it to other city pools. The pool is a life line for people to keep mobile and healthy. Garfield has always been an important health resource for people in the mission and adjacent areas. Its a wonderful place for many
    different types of people. I am so relieved
    that the city is finding the money to keep this resource available for us. Come join us in this wonderful pool when it opens up. Thanks for all who’ve worked hard to make this happen.

  3. @lizt – i work for sf parks trust, a nonprofit that works with community groups and rec & park to make parks better. if you’re interested in doing more, give me a call.

    @janew – can we help you to spread the word and gain more regulars? let me know.

  4. My 7 y.o. son takes beginning swim lessons at Garfield. The instructors are wonderful!! We are a family that lives in Bernal Heights, my son attends public school in Potrero. We really miss this pool!

  5. Garfield pool is awesome. Very diverse group of users, provides affordable accessible for many, an important place for community to come together. Please ensure it gets funded!

  6. Thank you for covering this issue. Garfield pool is a vital part of the Mission community and I am grateful that it will reopen.

  7. I felt just like snoozysuzie when I first went to Garfield back in 93 – the pool just didn’t seem clean or friendly but an injury ended by jogging days and I was told swimming was it for me from now on. So I went back and it was totally cool, much cleaner water and I have many dear friends there now. I’m so grateful for this gem of a pool – I wish I could get back all the years I avoided Garfield because it has meant so much to my health and happiness. All 3 of my kids learned to swim there and one of them actually gets phys ed credits there because her public high school is so broke they can’t have real phys ed classes. Since the pool closed she has gotten way behind on the credits she needs to graduate. Ours is just one families story of how much the pool means to us – and don’t get me started about summertime at Garfield- it is PACKED with kids and it means so much to have this resource in the area.
    Please reopen it asap! And a MILLION THANKS to those working now to get the funding to do just that!

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