Save Mart saves the day for Sacramento pools

Donate online at or text POOLS to 80888 to donate $10. Also, Save Mart will donate $5 for every “like” on its Facebook page between Feb 28 and March 13.

In the old days, on a sweaty summer afternoon, it was a no-brainer for a Sacramento parent to round up the neighborhood kids and head to the nearby public pool for an afternoon of swimming, reading, chilling. Don’t try it these days, though. In the past years, hammered city budgets have forced local parks and recreation officials to shut them down. Last year, six out of 12 local pools were closed for the season—some in the very neighborhoods where kids most need a place to escape, cool down and get some exercise.

Sadly, such pool closures have been occurring nationwide as deficit-ridden municipalities come to terms with their fiscal realities. (It costs about $100,000 to operate a public pool for the summer.)

To the local rescue this year, comes a private corporation with a cool plan. Save Mart Supermarkets, based in Modesto, has announced its intention to match up to $500,000 in private donations to keep the pools open in Sacramento. It’s going to take time to pull this off in time for summer—that’s why Save Mart announced its campaign in the middle of winter.

Corporate and individual largesse is certainly not a good long-term solution for keeping basic government institutions and services afloat. But for now, and for the sake of all the Sacto kids who’ll cherish the summer of 2012, we are grateful for Save Mart’s munificence.