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Cudahy to 'Beg' at Capitol for Swim Pool Funds

April 09, 1987|LEE HARRIS | Times Staff Writer

CUDAHY — Officials from this city, which is described in a recent university study as the second-poorest suburb in the nation, are going to the state Capitol next week to beg for money.

"We're going to beg. We're going to ask for anything from zero to more than $1 million," Assistant City Manager Maynard G. Law said.

The money is needed to build a swim complex, which would give this city of 20,000 its only swimming pool, said Mayor John O. Robertson. He will go with Law to Sacramento on April 16.

Robertson and Law are to meet with state Department of Parks and Recreation acting Director Les McCargo and Sen. Bill Greene (D-Los Angeles), whose 27th District includes Cudahy.

The city has raised more than $300,000 through various other state-funded grants and estimates that it will take at least $1.3 million more to build the complex. If the state does not provide the money for the pool, the city will "have to find other ways to finance it. The city will have a pool," Robertson said.

Standard Reply Letter

Last month, the Department of Parks and Recreation rejected the city's request for money, Law said. The city had requested "anything from zero to $1.3 million," Law said.

"They sent us a standard form letter saying that of 400 requests for funds for (park and recreation) projects, they had given 212 grants totaling $24.7 million, but Cudahy was not among them," Law said.

The projects are funded through Proposition 18, which took effect in 1984 and provides grants to local governments to develop recreational facilities.

Cudahy officials believe the community meets many of the criteria set down by the state Parks and Recreation Department, which administers the grants, Robertson said. Location, size and economic standing play major roles in deciding who gets funds, Law said.

"We find it difficult to believe that we are the second-poorest city in the nation but could not qualify for an award," Law said. "We are going to Sacramento armed with ammunition that states we are one of the poorest cities around."

Ranked by Income

Officials will take a recent study of the wealthiest and poorest suburbs by Pierre DeVise of Roosevelt University in Chicago that ranks Cudahy as the second-poorest suburb among 10 other poor cities. The cities were ranked according to their estimated per capita income for 1985.

Ford Heights, a suburb of Chicago, was ranked poorest, with a per-capita income of $4,523. Cudahy was second, with a per-capita income of $5,040.

"There are no promises, but we will talk about it," said McCargo, acting director of state parks and recreation. "They are coming up to further explain their position, to help us understand the issues. We will try and help them understand the criteria."

The issue, said Cudahy Councilman Tom Thurman (, is simple: The city needs a swimming pool.

"It is difficult for an affluent community to understand what a swimming pool means to a poorer community," Thurman said. "A swimming pool would be another hook to help eliminate some of the gang activities.

Wading Pools Included

Law said the council has worked hard to develop a recreational complex for the city, which will include a large competition-size swimming pool, two smaller warm-up and wading pools and a weight training gym, Law said.

Three years ago, the city spent $1.1 million for 4.5 acres that had served as a maintenance yard for Southern California Edison Co., Law said. More than two acres would be occupied by the swimming complex, which would be open year-round to provide swimming lessons as well as recreational swimming, Law said. The remaining land would contain a park and picnic site, he said.

It is estimated that the pool would serve more than 2,000 people a day, many of them from surrounding cities, Law said.

Pool facilities are limited in the area, Law said. There is a pool at Ford Park in Bell Gardens, which is open during the summer, and South Gate has a pool that is reserved for South Gate residents, he said.

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