BELPRE - The City of Belpre will offer financial assistance to allow low-income families and children passes to the Belpre swimming pool for the fifth summer.
"With the generosity of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, we are able to help families and children use our pool," said city auditor Leslie Pittenger.
This will be the fifth year of the program that was originally funded by the Marietta Family YMCA. In the past, the YMCA provided passes to children through grant money from the State of Ohio, but the state has since stopped the funding, Pittenger said.
While the state only allowed the YMCA to offer passes to children, Belpre offers passes for families of up to five.
"No one is going to drop a 10-year-old child off at the pool and leave them alone," Pittenger said. "The pool is a place for families and we want everyone to be able to be there."
During the 2012 pool season, the United Way provided financial assistance for 21 families and one individual with pool passes and 22 children for swimming lessons. Children in families who receive this assistance must attend the swimming lessons provided with the passes.
If the children do not participate in the lessons, the families will not receive the assistance the next year.
Pittenger said she and other city officials had originally only planned to provide pool passes in 2010 but added swimming lessons because of the importance of knowing how to swim.
"We feel that knowing how to swim is very important, not only for recreation, but it may come in handy and save your life," she said. "Also, with the river right here, knowing how to swim is necessary."
The financial assistance for the passes is for 75 percent of the $150 family for up to five members and $85 individual pass cost, Pittenger said. With the assistance, a family pass will cost $37.50 for the season.
"We can't fund 100 percent, but we are able to significantly help," she said.
The Belpre pool will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday with evening hours pending beginning May 24.
The pool will be managed by the Marietta Family YMCA for a fifth year.
Applications will be available at the city building from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday starting May 1.
Assistance will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis until the grant money has been completely used, Pittenger said.
Financial assistance is determined on the federal poverty guidelines, which are families at 200 percent of the national poverty guidelines. This is $21,660 for one person and $44,100 for a family of four.
"We want the pool to be available to everyone who wants to use it and this is how we can help them," Pittenger said. "We are thrilled to be able to help those we can."