The City of Alameda will continue to help pay for the Emma Hood and Encinal swim centers under an agreement approved with the Alameda Unified School District on Tuesday.
The one-year agreement comes two weeks after the Island's voters rejected a proposal to raise the city's sales tax to help pay for a new swim center, as well as for a new sports fields, fire station and other projects.
"The pools are part of the community," said Martina Hertzog, 27, of Alameda as she walked past the Emma Hood Swim Center the day after the unanimous decision by the City Council. "I don't swim and so I don't use the pools. But I think having them open is important, especially for high school students who are on the swim teams."
The agreement is an extension of the one approved last year between the city and the school district. It calls for each side to pay half the cost of keeping the centers open, which totals about $295,000 annually.
As part of the agreement, the city will continue picking up the tab for ongoing maintenance -- such as for custodial and minor repairs -- while the school district will fund major capital repairs and improvements.
"We do the lights," Assistant Alameda City Manager Lisa Goldman said. "The big ticket items are on the school district, like the pumps."
Both sides can terminate the agreement if either side cannot foot the costs, or without any cause with a 30-day written notice.
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The initial agreement approved in May 2011 was the first formal arrangement on the issue between the city and school district, despite both sides operating the five pools at the two centers for years.
"It's good that they found a way to keep them open," said Joshua Keynes, 31, an Alameda resident. "Especially nowadays, when it seems no one has money and everything is being cut."
In other business Tuesday, the council put off until July 3 adopting a "park master plan" for the city that calls for new sports fields and developing the former Alameda Beltline property as a community park.
The proposed plan also calls for city officials to support urban gardens through partnerships with community groups and nonprofits and with the school district.
The development of the plan follows the council hearing a report in August 2010 on the condition of the city's parks and the work needed to improve them.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty/.