An unknown Mission swimmer has a clarion call for others taking a dip at Mission Community Pool at 1 Linda Street: raise your voice, or lose your pool for the winter.
The outdoor pool normally closes from the end of October through March, although the Department of Recreation and Parks extended the pool’s schedule through Nov. 27 this year. Fliers posted around the neighborhood urge pool patrons to share their views on continuing the season through the winter.
“Maybe we can get them to change their minds,” reads the flier. “There is something different and better about swimming outside. It’s also less ‘COVID-y’ than swimming inside.”
It’s unlikely, however, that the call will be answered.
“We appreciate everyone’s advocacy to continue swimming at Mission Pool,” said Tamara Barak Aparton, Department of Recreation and Parks’ deputy director of communications and public affairs. Although the department does not know the exact number of calls it has received to keep the pool open throughout winter, she said staff have indicated it is consistent from year to year.
“A lot of consideration went into this decision,” she said. “We analyzed data from the past three years, and learned there is a significant dip in participation in the winter months.”
“Additionally, moving our historically seasonal pool to year-round status isn’t sustainable for our department,” Aparton added. Mission Pool is only funded seasonally, she said, and staffing there is sustained by moving employees from other year-round pools. This year’s extension was possible because one of those pool’s renovations lasted longer than anticipated.
Mission Community Pool was built in 1916 and is the only outdoor pool managed by the City through the Department of Recreation and Parks. In addition to swimming lessons, the pool offers regular lap swims, senior swims, water aerobics classes and family swims.
Most of the people present at the nearby Mission playground, sports complex, and businesses said they do not swim at Mission Pool, and they did not know who posted the fliers.
Parents and child caretakers that we spoke with at the playground tended to agree that the pool’s hours weren’t the best for them — if they could brave the coming cooler temperatures, that is.
“We’d love to swim here, but the family swim hours don’t work for us,” said Mikka Minx, a single mom living downtown with her one-year-old daughter. Minx brings her daughter to Mission Playground for regular playdates, since Minx’s boyfriend lives in the neighborhood, but her daughter takes an afternoon nap during the designated fall hours from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, and 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Andrew Gallardo was also at the playground with his three- and one-year-old daughters. He said it made sense the outdoor pool would close during the winter months with the temperature dropping. They usually swim at the indoor pool at Garfield Park, he said, but it’s still “frigid” there anyway.
“It’s also just the timing,” he said. “The schedule for this pool is not conducive to when I feel like a lot of kids go down for a nap.”