Photos: Above and left: Attendees at grand opening ceremonies, and a community swim day, for the Fred Hampton Aquatic Center, 300 Fred Hampton Way, Fri., June 19. Below: Phillip Jimenez, West Cook YMCA CEO and Bill Hampton speak. Mayor Edwenna Perkins looks on.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015 || By Michael Romain || Updated: 6/25/15
The Fred Hampton Aquatic Pool got some much-needed repairs before the swimming season began this summer. At the 45-year-old facility’s grand opening June 19, West Cook YMCA President and CEO Phillip Jimenez noted the improvements with pride.
Jimenez said the facility underwent repairs on the roof, pumps and plumbing system. Both pools were patched and repainted. The decks, among other surfaces, were power-washed. The landscaping around the grounds was beautified.
“When the roof work came up at $11,300, the board didn’t wink or flinch, because this is something necessary for the community to go beyond this day and into the future at raising the quality of life,” said Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, Jr.
Jimenez said the new-and-improved pool is the result of a renewed sense of collaboration between the village and the West Cook YMCA, which has been operating the pool for four years. Last year, the village agreed to split the financial costs of operating the pool with the Oak Park-based organization. And this year, YMCA officials reported that the pool posted a profit last summer.
“In my very first meeting with [Village Manager Willie Norfleet], I could the tell the page had turned,” Jimenez said. “He was talking about very specific details that needed to be attended to here at the pool. I could tell the village was ready to reinvest again in this pool.”
Jimenez said that his staff’s goals for the pool are to service over 2,000 youths and providing swimming lessons to over 100 children. The pool will offer swimming instruction all summer to people ages 3 to adulthood. Jimenez noted that the facility is something of the organization’s flagship when it comes to its mission of building a “Y without walls.”
“This partnership is an expression of what we do,” he said. “We want to bring our Y and our programming to you … We see this facility as one of the cornerstones of what we call the ‘Y without walls,’ which allows us to neighbor with the ten communities we represent.”
Those communities include Maywood, Forest Park, River Forest, Oak Park, Bellwood and Melrose Park.
“This is all about the children,” said Mayor Edwenna Perkins. “I see them here and I see them happy, so we’re looking forward to a good year this year and asking the people to take part and support this and help us to make sure our children are safe.”
“We know the trials and tribulations that Fred and others fought to have this pool here in Maywood,” said Hampton’s brother, Bill Hampton, who along with his mother Iberia are staples at these grand openings.
“Let’s work along with the YMCA to continue to make this a monument for people to swim and enjoy themselves,” he said.
Proviso Township District 209 School Board President Theresa Kelly said the pool would provide a major source of positive recreation for kids in the community, not a few who’ll be on break from Proviso Township schools.
“I’m so happy to see the pool is open on time and at the beginning of summer kids will have an activity that is much need in the community,” she said.
The Fred Hampton Aquatic Center will be open every day, 12 PM to 7 PM, between now and Monday, Sep. 7. For more information, click here for more info. VFP
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