Community donates more than $100,000 in six days in response to appeal from Syracuse Parks Conservancy

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said Thursday that the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs will open two more outdoor pools starting July 23, thanks to the overwhelming success of a Syracuse Parks Conservancy community fundraising campaign.

The two additional pools scheduled to open are Onondaga Park Pool and Thornden Park Pool. Both pools will open on July 23, a week later than Kirk Park Pool and Schiller Park Pool. The pools will offer free open swim seven days a week from 12 – 6 p.m. Schiller Park Pool and Thornden Park Pool will also offer lap swim Monday – Friday, 6:30 – 10 a.m. for $3. Open swim and lap swim will be by reservation only in 40-minute time blocks. One time slot per day will be allowed.

Last week, the Syracuse Parks Conservancy started a GoFundMe campaign to help ensure #SyracuseSwimsOn, in spite of the financial impact of COVID-19 on the City budget. With only one week available, the Conservancy set an aggressive goal of $100,000 to help offset the costs of opening two more pools for the 2020 summer season.

“When challenged, the Syracuse community always rallies,” said Mayor Walsh. “The outpouring of support this campaign received is incredible. In six days, the Syracuse Parks Conservancy raised $105,534.00 from both individual and corporate donors. I want to thank each and every donor, with special acknowledgment to National Grid, KeyBank, and The Central New York Community Foundation for helping us get over the top. Because of you, summer will be a lot more fun for city kids.”  

Information on the campaign can be viewed at

In keeping with New York State guidance on gatherings, new protocols will include a maximum of 50 people in the pool area at one time. Reservations must be made by calling direct lines designated for each pool location. Reservations for Kirk Park Pool and Schiller Park Pool will begin being accepted July 14 and July 23 for Onondaga Park Pool and Thornden Park Pool between 12 – 6 p.m. Families should arrive 20 minutes prior to their reservation time for safety checks.

Reservations will not be held for late arrivals, and will not be extended for inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances. 

Children under the minimum height requirement must be with a parent or responsible adult over 18 years old. A maximum of three children per adult are allowed. The accompanying adult must be in the water within an arms-reach of children at all times, even when a child is wearing a U.S. Coast Guard Approved flotation device. 

The following changes will be in effect:

  • Reservations can be made for up to a maximum of 10 people for open swim and two people for lap swim by calling each pool site. Time slots of 40 minutes will be allocated and the pool area will be closed for cleaning in between those times. To reach Kirk Park Pool, call 315-399-0518; Schiller Park Pool, call 315-382-3430; Onondaga Park Pool, call 315-412-3822; and Thornden Park Pool, call 315-412-6207.
  • When reservations are being made, visitors will be asked to select a time period they wish to reserve. Lap swim time slots for Schiller Pool and Thornden Pool will be from 6:30 to 7:10 a.m., 7:30 to 8:10 a.m., 8:30 to 9:10 a.m., 9:30 to 10:10 a.m. Open swim at all four pools will be from 12 to 12:40 p.m., 1 to 1:40 p.m., 2 to 2:40 p.m., 3 to 3:40 p.m., 4 to 4:40 p.m., and 5 to 5:40 p.m. 
  • Pool patrons should arrive already dressed in appropriate swimsuit as dressing rooms will not be open to the public.

The following health and safety precautions will be taken at the pool area:

  • Masks must be worn on the pool deck and in restrooms by everyone 2 years of age and older. 
  • Families will need to provide names and contact information for each member included in their reservation.
  • Temperatures will be taken for each pool patron prior to entry.
  • Families of 10 or less will be assigned an area on the pool deck that will be spaced six feet apart from other families. 
  • Staff will clean pool areas throughout the 40-minute time slot and will conduct a deep clean in the 20-minute window between sessions, when the pool area is completely emptied out.

Swimming lessons are canceled until further notice. The remaining outdoor pools at Burnet Park, Lincoln Park, McKinley Park and Wilson Park will not open. The indoor pools at Huntington School, Valley, and the Southwest Community will also remain closed through the summer. 

For more information, call the City of Syracuse Department of Parks, Recreation & Youth Programs at 315-473-4330.

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