RESEDA — With temperatures expected to hit the upper 90s on Sunday, Angelenos can escape the heat in more than 30 seasonal pools now open around L.A.
But for Reseda residents, relief from the heat is only a mirage — for now, and several summers to come.
This is the second summer the Reseda Park Pool will be closed because of a major leak. City officials announced this week they'd allocated money to rebuild the pool and bathhouse, although the $4.7 million project isn't set for completion until September 2012.
"We already have the funds identified and are ready to proceed," said City Councilman Dennis Zine. "We are in the pre-design stage and now are in the works of awarding a construction contract."
In a statement issued last November, Zine vowed to do everything in his power to "get this pool up and running."
Currently the 79-year-old pool has been deemed "not fixable" and a new one must be constructed, according to Jane Kolb, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.
"The Reseda facility remains closed and it can't be repaired," Kolb said. "We have to design a new tank."
Louis Cruz and his friends play basketball in the park adjacent to the vacant pool and noted earlier this week that summer weather has definitely arrived.
"It's starting to get really hot. If the pool was open right now I would jump in," said Louis, a 14-year-old Reseda resident.
Wiping the sweat off his forehead, Luis Jimenez would also like to see the pool brimming with water. "The pool in my apartment complex is dirty. I would come here if it was open," said the recent graduate of Mulholland Middle School.
The opening of the Reseda Park Pool was delayed last summer because crews had to fix a ruptured pipeline under its deck.
After repairs were completed and the pool filled, a larger pipe — not part of the repair program — broke, and some 250,000 gallons of water leaked out. Some questioned whether the pool would ever be fixed or replaced.
"This community facility is too important to the children of this neighborhood to lose it permanently. The Reseda pool has given San Fernando Valley relief from the heat for more than 78 years and we want to ensure that it will give the community at least 78 more," Zine said last year.
Longtime Reseda resident Vicky Sattler, now a grandmother, used to frequent the community pool in her youth. She fondly recalls coming to the pool with her brother.
"When I think back and remember coming to the pool, it gives me a really good feeling. I think a new pool would be great for the area," she said, watching her two grandchildren feed ducks in the park's pond.
Of the nine public pools in the San Fernando Valley, the Reseda Park pool is the only turning swimmers away.
According to a 2004 report on pool facilities across the city, the Reseda Park pool received a grade of F, representing pool systems that are hazardous and/or leak and need immediate repair or replacement.