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New Haven, take a bow
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
One of the few pleasures I have in the summer is going swimming. Until I get that Endless Pool installed in my backyard, Iíll have to settle for public swimming. Problem is, Iíve never liked Fort Wayneís public pools. Northside Park is a couple miles from my house, but the pool there seems incredibly small. Iíve been to McMillen, but it seems small too. Swinney, Iíve never been to.
I get this prejudice from my mom. She took me to Jury Pool in New Haven from the very beginning, and that was it. I loved everything about it, from the locker room with the communal showers that always seemed to have cold water, to the foot bath that could have been a decent swimming pool if you were the size of a Barbie doll, to the baby pool with the fountain and of course, to the pool itself. Huge, gleaming, with a good-sized kid area, a nice diving space and that huge gulf in between filled with people splashing around. As a kid the rest periods seemed like an eternity; once I was old enough, I practically had the whole pool to myself to swim laps. All this for a couple of bucks. Iíd spend an afternoon swimming and sunning and devouring a good book.
The last couple summers though, werenít the same. I had to find a new pool, and I stuck with New Haven. Jury Pool might be torn down, and I read news of what was going on with concern. Tearing the pool down would be a mistake. So I was relieved when the powers that be decided to renovate it. As soon as I could, I went out there.
As a picky bitch, hardly anything satisfies me, but I have to say New Haven (and whoever they hired to redo the Jury complex) did a hell of a job. Itís hard to have something for everyone, but itís here: a good-sized main swimming pool with roped-off lap lanes and a diving area and general swimming area; and a water park/splash pad area, with a current pool thatís a little like a wet merry-go-round, slides and a huge bucket to dump water on the kids. It was early afternoon on the fourth of July, but I was able to snag a chaise lounge. Giant umbrellas were scattered around, and there was not only a concession stand with a good assortment of reasonably priced snacks, but an area to eat them in. The communal showers are gone, replaced by private showers and changing areas. The little foot bath is gone, but I guess Iíll get over it.
Of course, the price of admission went up a bit, but I expected that. However, if you want to swim after you get off work, you can do so, for a mere $2. My jaw dropped when I first took my niece, nephew and a friend to Northside Park to swim and realized it would cost $12 for all four of us. Fortunately, the pool was at capacity when we got there, and we ended up at Jury Pool anyway.
So the Jury Pool of my younger years only exists in my memory, but New Haven pretty much did the impossible: provide something for everyone.