D.C. Council member Cheh makes sure District pools are ready for summer

(WJLA) - With Tuesday’s 90-degree heat, it's already starting to feel oppressive outside. One D.C. Council member wants to be sure the District’s pools are ready for the summer swelter.

Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh is on a mission. With oversight of Parks and Recreation, she wants to be sure the District's pools and aquatic centers are ready to open this summer.

“Of course, we haven't gone to every facility so we don't know,” Cheh said. “But I do think we're on top of these.”

In previous years, she said D.C. residents have complained about inadequate facilities, a lack of maintenance, absent staff and poor management.

“[Residents] have expectations and we ought to meet those expectations. People pay their taxes to have amenities like parks and spray parks and pools and those kind of things.”

At Francis Pool last June, parents were outraged when their children exited the water covered in blue paint.

And in the fall, there were allegations of sexual assault at the Wilson Aquatic Center, when employees accessed the facility after-hours using a key.

But D.C. Government officials say this is a new year, with new leadership.

Department of Parks and Recreation Director Sharia Shanklin said, “All of our pools are prepped for opening. We have sufficient staff for opening. We have an aquatics director who is expert in all things about our operations and our programming and that combination is what's going to lead to success.”

Department of General Services Director Brian Hanlon said, “Last year at this time, we still had a couple of yellows, meaning [facilities] needed extra attention. This year, we're running green across the board, so I think we're gonna be in great shape.”

Both department heads say D.C. facilities should open by Memorial Day weekend – if not sooner.

Cheh's pool readiness tour continues Friday and then next week.

But even after DPR opens these facilities later this month, D.C. Government officials say residents should report any problems by calling 3-1-1.

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