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Donations save swimming program at Almaden Lake

June 16, 2010 6:48:47 PM PDT
It took a minor miracle, but kids began swimming again at a popular lake in the South Bay.The summer swimming program at Almaden Lake in San Jose that almost didn't survive the city's $118 million budget crisis is now in business.

The program was only saved by the generosity of people in the community and the fast work of Councilwoman Nancy Pyle who represents the Almaden Valley District.

You only had to look to the sandy shore of the lake to know the difference saving the program will make in the lives of hundreds of children this summer.

Three-year-old Gage was running in the water while his 5-year-old sister Taylor was building sandcastles.

"The kids are at the age where this is what they want during the summer. They want to have this memory," Joanne Kindle said.

Those memories are only possible after $70,000 were raised to save the summer swimming program. In 10 days, 40 donors ranging from families to businesses generated $35,000.

That fund was matched by money from Pyle's office. She said it was frugal office spending during the year that allowed the district to help save the program.

"The reason we had that money is because we are very spartan with what we spend and we have a half person less than all the other districts," she said.

Adults can swim at Almaden Lake for just $3. For children, the price is $2 two and anyone can swim for just $1 on bargain Wednesday and Thursdays.

Alicia Huitron and her family brought five children to the lake on Wednesday.

"You can save a lot of money and have a lot of fun, especially with the water and everything," she said.

James Reber is executive director of a non-profit organization that is helping to run the Almaden Lake program. He says given fiscal realities, it's likely public private partnerships will have a long future.

"The reality is right now, schools are under funded, libraries are underfunded, parks are underfunded. It's a way of self taxing but knowing that 100 percent of the money you're giving goes to this specific thing," he said.


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