Monday, June 9, 2014 || By Michael Romain
MAYWOOD–Community leaders and local elected officials gathered in front of the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center on Fred Hampton Way to celebrate the official opening of the pool’s 2014 summer season.
Guests included Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins; Maywood Trustees Ron Rivers, Toni Dorris and Audrey Jaycox; State Representatives Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Kathleen Willis; Maywood Police Chief Valdimir Talley; District 209 Board Member Theresa Kelly; West Cook YMCA CEO Phillip Jimenez; West Cook YMCA COO David Parsons; West Cook Board members Roberto Sepulveda and Phil Gordon; West Cook YMCA Aquatics Director Kim Polk; Maywood Park District Commissioner and brother of Fred Hampton, Bill Hampton; Hampton’s mother Iberia Hampton; and Maywood Park District Interim Executive Director Lawrence Broughton.
“West Cook YMCA is thankful and delighted to be in partnership with the Village of Maywood, the Mayor and the Hampton family,” Jimenez said. He also thanked the West Cook YMCA staff, Acting Village Manager David Myers and Maywood’s Coordinator of Enforcement David Flowers for a job well done.
(From left to right: Mayor Edwenna Perkins; Mayor Perkin and Phillip; the Mayor and Rep. Welch (right) talk with a resident; Isiah Brandon, Executive Director of Youth on the Move, speaks with Rep. Willis. Photos by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press).
This marks the third year that the YMCA has maintained the pool, but it will be the first year that the Village shares the burden of the operating costs. Last month, the Village Board of Trustees voted unanimously to allocate $40,000 toward the approximately $80,000 it costs the West Cook YMCA to run the pool during the summer season, which officially kicked off after today’s ribbon-cutting and will end on August 17th.
“This is the proper place, the proper setting, the proper pool for people to do the proper things in this community,” said Bill Hampton. “Fred gave his life, not just for people to swim, but to build cooperation and unity. This was a great day in Maywood.”
“Since it opened in 1970, this pool has been a center of good, wholesome fun and hope for thousands of families,” Mayor Perkins said. “It has provided past and present residents of this Village with lifetimes of memories; and it has been a place where Maywoodians have bonded and formed lasting relationships.”
The Mayor lauded the Board of Trustees for voting to share the cost of operating the pool. She also thanked the administrative staff and board members of the YMCA for a fruitful collaboration. The Mayor noted that keeping the pool open year after year would require a constant struggle, but one she’s optimism about.
“In order for this pool to stay open another 40 plus years, it will take a struggle,” she said. “But the recent actions taken by the Village, in partnership with the West Cook YMCA, should give residents a lot of hope that this pool will be in good shape for years to come.”
(From left to right: Roberto Sepulveda; Iberia Hampton and local author Mary Morris; a crowd heads into the pool complex; Chief Talley converses with Trustee Jaycox; two boys plotting poolside; a YMCA lifeguard standing watch; a woman reading poolside; children wading the pool; Theresa Kelly, Mary Morris and Mrs. Hampton; Trustee Jaycox and Mrs. Hampton; Kim Polk, Mrs. Hampton and Bill Hampton cutting the ribbon; a poolside attendant waits for a patron to go down the slide. Photos by Michael Romain for The Village Free Press).
“It’s a joy and a hard-fought battle, but it’s something we have to do for our kids,” said Trustee Rivers, riffing on the Mayor’s martial metaphor. “It would’ve been a terrible mistake for this pool not to be open and for it not to be open on time. We did what we set out to do. Now, I just hope that it’s a safe and hot summer.”
West Cook YMCA board member Roberto Sepulveda, who is also a member of the Maywood Rotary Club, said that the partnership between the YMCA and the Village has never been stronger.
“We are glad to see a full partnership that includes greater engagement and financial support from Mayor Perkins, the Maywood Trustees and the Village of Maywood as a whole,” he said. “Today, you could really feel the sense of community.”
Iberia Hampton gathered with local leaders in front of a Univision television camera to cut the ribbon. The pool opening wouldn’t be official without her. VFP