Tampa budget shortfall may mean no money for historic pool

Cuscaden Pool closed in 2009

Devon Mitchell remembers spending time at the historic Cuscaden pool in Ybor City.
 
"Instead of staying at home, you got somewhere to go to," the 13-year-old  said. "They don't close it until 5 o'clock so you can be there almost all day.”
 
The pool, built in 1937, closed in 2009 and left nearly 4,000 children like Mitchell without a place to swim.
 
"The park was full. Families out there enjoying themselves. Now it's dead," said Ybor City neighbor Adam Brown.
 
City staffers said Thursday a budget shortfall means Cuscaden will sit in disrepair for at least two more summers.
 
A repair would cost $1.5 million and a new pool would cost $10.8 million.
 
"If the city is sincere about treating this part of town the same as you treat other parts of town, there's room to find even that $1.5 million to do what needs to be done for that pool," said Tampa City Council member Frank Reddick.
 
Recently, the city invested in restoring the Roy Jenkins pool on Davis Islands, spending $1.75 million in taxpayer money to compliment private funding.
 
Cuscaden is located in the heart of Ybor City, where you can read the Cuesta Ray Cigar sign poking out from the tree tops.
 
"I learned how to swim in that park," said Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda.
 
City Council member Harry Cohen said he's concerned about the nearly $10 to $15 million  budget deficit and doesn't want to dip into reserves.
 
"We're going to have to find a place to take this money from," said Cohen.
 
The budget shortfall is linked to decreasing property tax revenues and might mean more projects like Cuscaden get put on the back burner.
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