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Dinkins Pool open for summer, Edmundites donates $5,000 to city for pool

By Luis Torres | The Selma Times-Journal

As the weather gets hotter, parents and children have a place to cool down again.

The Dinkins Pool on the corner Division Street and Dexter Avenue is open for the summer, and with more than 30 kids splashing and hollering on Tuesday, Selma took another step in the continuing renovations of the pool.

Chad McEachern, the president and C.E.O. of the Edmundite Missions, presented a $5,000 donation check to Ward 8 councilman Michael Johnson, bringing the donation total close to $40,000 since the pool reopened in 2015.

The donation ensures no child is turned away because of insufficient funds, meaning kids swim for free. 

“There was always a 50 cent fee or something, and for most of the folks that are coming this way a 50 cent fee, you might as well be asking for $500, and that’s not what a city pool should be about,” McEachern said. “So we wanted to make sure that everybody that wanted to come and enjoy the pool was able to do so.”

Thirteen-year-old Andre Fullenwilder and his siblings were among those at the pool Tuesday.

They rushed to pool, diving in head first, as they participated in games and races with the other children.

“We come out here so we have fun, respect people and make sure they listen and go and stay out of trouble,” Fullenwilder said.

Keeping kids out of trouble has been a purpose of the pool. It gives them an activity to do when the school year ends, and it gives them a chance to learn how to swim.

“Without this pool here, we probably would have kids right now into a lot of things,” Johnson said. “Stealing, gangs, getting into all kinds of trouble. … This pool has been here for so long and really not it’s not just this ward, but other areas are coming out here and swimming as well. It’s very important to us to see the kids smiling and jumping in and out of the pool.”

The pool has come a long way from the crumbling cement that surrounded the outer areas of the water. However, there are hurdles that need to be cleared.

Lifeguards don’t have a proper tower that oversees the pool. A pump needs to be fixed. More benches need to be added and one of the gates leading to the pool was broken into last year. Fixing those items are next on Johnson’s agenda.

But even then, there were still plenty of kids jumping in and out of the pool. The pool has accomplished its goal since it reopened.

“The best part of it isn’t necessarily the money, although I know that makes things happen to keep it open and maintained, it’s to see the smiles on the faces of the kids, splashing around and just enjoying it,” McEachern said.

“The money is insignificant when you see the joy on their faces.”