In the almost two weeks since the Kennedy Park Pool closed for the season, it turned from a blue pool to a green swamp.
Algae began creeping up the walls, and pond scum formed on the top. You could no longer see through to the bottom of the pool from behind the gate.
Not only is the pool's condition an eyesore, it's dangerous. If someone jumped the gate and dropped beneath the surface, no one would could see that person from the outside.
It sounds crazy but it happens. Last summer in Fall River, Mass., the murky water in the city pool concealed the body of a drowning victim for two days.
Recreational swimming opportunities are so important for a community's health and safety.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the fifth most common cause of accidental death in the United States. It's the second most common cause of accidental death in children under 14.
And minorities are the most at risk: blacks, and especially black children, are three times more likely to die by drowning than whites. Better access to recreational swimming opportunities and swimming lessons, especially for low-income families such as those living around the Kennedy Park area, reduce the risk of accidental drowning.
The pool in Kennedy Park is an important resource for our community. According to the Lewiston Parks and Recreation Department, 65 children participated in free swimming lessons this summer. About 800 children and 50 adults used the facilities this year. But the memory of the pool as a fetid mosquito breeding ground might sour some who would have used the pool from swimming next year.
Typically at the end of the season the pool is drained half way and a cover is put on to protect anything from falling in. This should have been done on Aug. 10, when the pool closed. The delay has created a scummy security hazard.