Recreation leader fights to balance safety, summer fun after gun violence shuts down pool

Justin Udo
July 17, 2019 - 7:00 pm
A shooting outside of a Philadelphia Recreation center led to the closing of a popular pool, but the recreation leader is taking measures to make sure the neighborhood can still enjoy the popular summer pastime.

Justin Udo/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A shooting outside a Philadelphia recreation center led to the closing of a popular pool, but the recreation leader is taking measures to make sure the neighborhood can still enjoy the popular summer pastime.

Tymir Regans spends most of his summer days at the Belfield Recreation Center doing a number of different activities, but one of his favorites is swimming.

"It's hot outside, and I can see my friends, we can have fun in the pool, swimming. I like to swim," Regans said. 

But for Regans and dozens of other people who frequent the pool in East Germantown, their summer fun was put on hold about a week and a half because of violence in the neighborhood.

"There was a shooting in the afternoon. We assessed everything, felt as though until the tension died down that we would close up for safety purposes," said Belfield Recreation Center leader Donnell Martin.

Martin said that incident, combined with other shootings and fights in the area, led him to close the pool as they looked for ways to better protect the people using their facilities.

But that closed pool frustrated Regans as he spent his days baking in the sun. 

"I was mad 'cause I was like, why would they do that," he said. 

But earlier this week, with an increase in police presence and the belief that the neighborhood violence was dying down, Martin refilled and reopened the pool.

"We were almost daily conversations just making sure that it was safe to open, making sure that everyone felt comfortable in opening back up," Martin said. 

Officials decided on keeping two police officers on duty by the pool and making sure police lights are constantly flashing to let the neighborhood know police are there for their protection.

It was something that's been applauded by pool visitors, and for Regans, that reopened pool and a more secure area is all he needs to enjoy his summer.