Town Square

Wading Pool at Rinconada

Original post made by Alison Brown, Downtown North, on Aug 26, 2013

I can't understand why the wading pool at Rinconada is not open every day through the end of September?

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Posted by deteriorated pool
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2013 at 2:07 pm

You must be from out of town, downtown north mask as Melo Park?
Anyway, based on the city records that baby wading pool is mainly used by out of Palo Residents in the range of 90%. it means the only 10 percent of Palo Altans. There is a high expense with all the life guards there. Eventually it will be demolished to include a olympic size of 50 meters, and another one with 6 lanes X25 years long. Most most people want to teach their kids how to swim than to play in a crumpling pool that is not serving the community.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I'd be interested in seeing who is planning to pay for the construction of a new pool facility at Rinconada. When Rinconada was updated, they had an opportunity (and funding) to extend the current pool to 50m and they decided not to...and instead expand and keep the wading pool. What you describe will cost close to $10mil. Wishful thinking at best. There are no such plans on record with the city.

BTW - what city records? One of our children worked at Rinconada and they never went around the wading pool taking a census survey of the wading pool patrons - ever. I'm guessing you don't like non-residents using the pool. Which is your prerogative. But don't make up data that doesn't exist.

Now to answer the OP:

Rinconada is a city run pool. They rely upon part-time/seasonal HS & college students to staff the lifeguard positions. Now that schools are starting in mid-August, most of the staff disappears on weekdays (or has gone back to college).

Burgess is a city pool but it is run by a private company. They employ lifeguards on a year-round basis; they are able to hire local lifeguards and keep them going during the fall/winter/spring because of a predictable and reliable stream of (full or part-time) income. This is also due to the number of year-round programs that are provided at Burgess --- due (in part) that they "bubble" the teaching pool in the winter, making it an indoor pool --- easier to convince kids to take lessons at an indoor pool in January...

The other consideration is that the amount of staff required to guard the Rinconada wading pool versus the Menlo Park wading pool. Since Rinconada is larger and has so many play features, it requires more than one guard to sufficiently cover the area, even on a light day. The Burgess pool is smaller in size and only has the umbrella water fall. One guard can cover the area on most days.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

This has been an ongoing problem for years.

Palo Alto does not employ year round lifeguards and the high school swim teams tend to man the pools during the summer. As soon as they go back to school, it is bye bye summer fun for Palo Alto young swimmers.

It was a crying shame as soon as that pool was done to see how such an expensive new facility had so few hours for the public to enjoy it. My family when they were young were so seldom able to get there because it closed so soon after their summer camps, etc. Recreational swim times are low on the list of priorities and lap swim sessions and swim team sessions were much more well planned.

Locker room and safety were a low priority (no secure places for keys, etc.) was a big problem for us as we had to hide valuables under towels which was not a wise move. I am not sure if this system continues now, but it was one of the many reasons why we did not like using Rinconada as a family.

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Posted by safety by numbers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 26, 2013 at 3:19 pm

I believe the reason is the lifeguards are typically high-school students. With Palo Alto schools now going back so early, these students are no longer available.

Yet another fallout of the calendar change.

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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Crescent Park Dad - Residents pay a different fee than non-residents, I'm sure the City keeps track of that.

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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

It's a cash drawer and it is not computerized where they can easily break down resident versus non-resident.

Besides that's not the issue that "deteriorated pool" claims to be the problem. This person claims that "90%" of the wading pool patrons are non-residents. "DP" can't prove that because there is no data available one way or the other.

I honestly believe that DP just doesn't want non-residents at the Rinconada Pool. Again, his or her prerogative to feel that way. I have no opinion on that.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Crescent Park Dad - DP's attitude is the "new Palo Alto" - typically nasty. Since non-residents pay more & the City allows it, c'est la vie.

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Posted by St Elsewhere
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 28, 2013 at 7:22 am

So why not go to Burgess Park and use the wading pool there? That's what we did when our kids were that small--we went elsewhere!