Will budget cuts close public swimming pools in Belleville?

In tough times, luxuries often are the first things to get slashed from the budget.

So, with times tight and popularity of local public swimming holes threatened by competition from other forms of entertainment, are public pools becoming an endangered species?

O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Department Supervisor Mary Jeanne Hutchison said the city's pool lost money in 2009 for the first time in years. Part of that was blamed on a cool summer that caused the number of people interested in swimming to dwindle.

A total of 38,665 people swam in the 2008-09 fiscal year, while 32,963 took a dip in the 2009-10 period.

O'Fallon City Administrator Walter Denton said he thinks the drop in attendance was more of a result of the weather than of declining interest in the pools or competition from more elaborate water parks such as Splash City in Collinsville and Raging Rivers in Grafton. He said his city's pool isn't in danger of closing because of tough economic times.

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