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Anonymous Donor Saves Farrelly!

The word is out! This generous, modest San Leandro philanthropist has requested to remain anonymous. Nonetheless, he or she is possibly reading, so THANK YOU from our most sincere places in our hearts for keeping Farrelly alive. Now, the rest of you, get out and patronize the pool! Put your money where your heart is. Sign up for swimming classes at SanLeandroRec.org. Page down to see the collateral document that was presented to our Farrelly Angel.

Farrelly's Future in Doubt

Farrelly Pool is certainly not going to be operated by the City of San Leandro in 2010 due to the severe, ongoing budget crisis which is worse this year than last. We are seeking an angel funder to help out.... I have developed a pitch document for any possible angel. You can download the (large!) PDF, or read the pitch here (clicking on "Fullscreen" is best): AngelFarrelly

Farrelly to remain open!

I am happy to report that the City Council has agreed to keep Farrelly Pool open this summer, but with reduced hours and only slightly increased fees for recreational swim admission. While they would like to also increase swimming class enrollment fees, it is too late to do that since they already have so many registrations already.

Details will be forthcoming from the city, but the plan is to:

  • Eliminate morning swimming classes (because they are the lowest attendance due to cooler morning temperatures)
  • Close on Fridays
  • Continue to offer weekday, afternoon swim classes Monday-Thursday and Saturday
  • Reduce rec swim hours; offer public swim on weekdays (Mon-Thu) and Saturday for 2 hours only
  • Continue weekday evening rec swim, Mon-Thu

THANK YOU to everyone who has shown their support for Farrelly Pool, and especially to the many who showed up to speak at City Council on Monday night. We had so many people that they stopped taking public comment cards. There were other issues people wanted to speak about, but the Farrelly Pool issue dominated the public comment, and it clearly had an impact on the mayor and the council. The mayor thanked Carol for her comments and the memories they stirred in him... and after the meeting he told other representatives that "we need to keep this pool open."

We can be happy about this development, but the future is dim. We must not lose site of the fact that we have very narrowly been able to keep the pool open this year. We MUST find a way during this year to identify funding sources. This is where the real work begins. We need to keep the support of all of you who have expressed an interest in Farrelly and come up with some creative solutions over the next year. Watch this space...

The Case for Farrelly Pool

The San Leandro City Manager has proposed to the City Council that Farrelly Pool be closed this summer to save funds to address the city budget deficit. If approved by the City Council, the pool may be closed for years. If the community shows their support and speaks out to the City Council, we can convince them to spare historic Farrelly Pool so that this city can continue to have this valuable family recreational resource for our community.

Please attend the City Council meeting this Monday May 18 7 PM at City Council Chambers, Civic Center, 835 East 14th Street and voice your concerns during the public comment. If you have children who have enjoyed the pool and would like to make a comment to the council, PLEASE bring them too -- their voices are the most important.

The city must spare the CHILDREN'S programs in this city when cutting items from the budget. The children too often are the victims of hard economic times when they have no role in the problem.

Please browse the historic articles and photos from the links on the left side of this page. These were graciously provided by Carol Fehn Fitzpatrick, daughter of the late Frank Fehn who chaired the Frank De Mello Memorial fund and spearheaded most of the improvement projects in the 1960s and 70s.

Did you know these intriguing facts about Farrelly Pool?

  • Opened in 1930 after construction was largely funded by a $20,000 gift from Henrietta Farrelly
  • Frank De Mello, who was the original pool manager, life guard and swimming instructor from 1930 to 1966 originally helped dig the pool!
  • Frank De Mello taught over 90,000 children to swim during his 36 year tenure before his untimely death in 1966.
  • The Frank De Mello Memorial fund was started in the mid 1960s when new pool manager Fran Smith gave Frank Fehn a check for $100 to work on improvements to the pool.
  • The Frank De Mello Memorial Fund raised over $7000 and contributed improvements such as
    • High brick walls that surround the pool, protecting it from wind
    • The game room adjacent to the pool which at the time hosted ping pong, chess and checkers tables
    • The bleachers for viewing of swimming activities
    • The picnic and barbeque area to the east of the pool
  • In the mid 1970s the original plumbing and filter system for the pool was completely replaced (see the photos link on the left).
  • Olympic medalists Claudia Kolb and Donna de Varona have swum here

Farrelly Pool is located adjacent to Roosevelt Elementary School and operated by the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of San Leandro. The large, outdoor pool is open each summer and enjoyed by thousands of San Leandrans. Programs offered include swim lessons for children. The staff and swim instructors at the pool are exceptional with the kids. This pool, built in 1930, has a rich history in San Leandro and has survived threatened closures in the past because of the efforts of concerned citizens. Allowing the pool to be closed now will make all of the hard work of Frank Fehn and all of the people who funded and worked for the Frank DeMello Memorial fund be for naught.

Please contact your City Council representatives to voice your concerns about preserving this historic pool for San Leandro's children. If everyone concerned about the pool voices their opinion, this pool can be saved for generations to come. If we lose Farrelly Pool this year, will it ever be reopened? Will it suffer the same fate at other San Leandro pools (Thrasher and Jonh Muir) and be buried in the ground forever?