The Wrong Paint Closes Francis Pool Until June 22

Paint, not manufactured for underwater use, has closed the public pool at Francis School at 2435 N St., NW, two blocks east of Georgetown. Seems it was getting on the swimmers, including infants in the pool. It took complaints by the public to get this safety issue addressed.

The Michiels-Markowski family from 30th Street visited Francis Pool June 2 and found a host of problems with the pool and its facility and contacted Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans and the Georgetowner newspaper.

As of June 7, the family received confirmation from Councilmember Evans that Jesus Aguirre, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, was aware of the problem. The department reportedly used the wrong paint yet kept the pool open. The pool closed June 9 and is scheduled to re-open June 22. “We are so glad that this will be remedied,” Megan Markowski said.

Here’s what Markowski first told the Georgetowner:

“Our visit on Sunday [June 2] was just shocking. It was our first visit this summer season. The exterior of the park entrance had trash strewn about. The insides of the facility were filthy. The ladies bathroom was disgusting — clogged toilets and no toilet paper in any stall.

“The pool and pool deck were horrendous. The zero-entry shallow end of the kiddie pool was marked off with caution tape because the blue paint in the pool bleeds onto your skin. Are you kidding me? How could this pool even be open? As the parent to a 20-month-old child, this is beyond unacceptable, it is unsafe. How could they have a pool open with its paint rubbing onto children’s and other users’ skin? There are bright blue foot prints in the pool. Unbelievable.

“In addition, there was only one lifeguard for the entire three pools. So, he was calling “all break” for all three pools. Only about half of the pool deck chairs were out. So, half of the users had to put towels down.

“As a D.C. resident family and taxpaying household, we are outraged. We contacted D.C. Parks & Recreation. We want other Georgetowners to know about the conditions at Francis Pool and that D.C. allowed this place to be open to the public as is.”

Thanks to attention by Evans, D.C. parks boss Aguirre wrote back to the councilman: “DGS [Department of General Services] has assessed the issue, and it turns out there are problems with the paint used in prepping for the season. The only way to repair is to drain the pool and that will result in a substantial shutdown. (For example, it takes at least two to three days to drain the pool and another two to three days to fill gain due to the volume of water.) Of course, DGS would also address the other concerns in the looker rooms and site during the shutdown.”

For her part, Markowski has one more thing to say the District government: “We need answers why this paint was used in the first place and why the pool was open for three weeks.”

The Georgetowner called the office of Jesus Aguirre for comment but did not receive a response in time for the posting of this article.

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