Commentary: Dignowity Hill Gets a Swimming Pool…No Lifeguard

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A Dignowity Hill father and his young daughter spend their summer vacation enjoying the city's public pool in Dignowity Hill. Photo by Scott Ball.

Recent rains have brought relief to those looking to beat the heat on the Eastside. 

In a landmark cooperation between the City of San Antonio Transportation and Capital Improvements Department and the parks and recreation department, yet another new amenity has come to the citizens of Dignowity Hill: a public pool.

“It’s free and open to the public anytime the roadway is clear,” said an unnamed official.

The pool opened in April, with the start of the heavy rains. Residents were disappointed when the pool dried up in late July, as temperatures climbed and rains eased. However a recent downpour brought glad tidings: the Dignowity Public Pool is back, and residents are taking full advantage of this seasonal amenity.

A Dignowity Hill resident expresses his excitement before wading into the pool with his baby. photo by Scott Ball

A Dignowity Hill resident expresses his excitement before wading into the pool with his baby. Photo by Scott Ball

City officials call it a “rain-fed” pool, and assure locals that its maintenance remains high on their priority list.

“This pool is here to stay. I mean, at least until it evaporates…which is bound to happen…at some point. Right?” said a spokesperson for joint commission.

This is good news for crowd sunbathing along the soft shoulder of Lamar St. as they shaded their eyes to watch the yoga class above them on the Hays St. Bridge. 

“I mean, Dignowity Hill just gets everything these days, with all that Eastpoint stuff,” said one sunbather, who preferred to remain nameless, but admitted that she’s been visiting the pool daily, driving from her home in King William.

“I just wish the city paid half as much attention to us over in Southtown. Oh well, I don’t mind crossing the tracks for amenities!” she said.

The pool is a testimony to what a mobilized community can do when they engage their local government.

“We kept asking them what they were going to do about this massive unusable pool. This good water was going to waste. They just told us to keep calling 3-1-1,” said a local resident, “So I did! And look at us now!”

The resident then cannonballed off the top of a parked car into the “deep end,” formerly an insidious pot hole masked by the standing water.

Not everyone is happy about the pool. A group of protestors gathered in the swampy marsh just north of the pool, carrying signs that were mostly being used to swat at mosquitos. They spoke against recent changes in the area.

“It’s shameful that it took years of gentrification to get amenities like this,” said a community organizer protesting the pool.

While we were talking with the gathered crowd, an 18-wheeler on its way to one of the warehouses along Cherry Street passed through the south end of the pool.

“Woo! Wavepool!” shouted a 12-year-old boy, jumping on his boogie board and riding the wake.

Dignowity Hill residents try to make the best of the pool on Lamar. photo by Scott Ball

Dignowity Hill residents try to make the best of the pool on Lamar. Photo by Scott Ball

A nearby mother wiped the spray of decomposed asphalt off of her toddler’s face.

“It’s just so nice to be able to get outside and enjoy this weather. I mean where else in town can my son see so many different species of mosquitos? Plus, we’re learning about the body’s natural ways of fighting infections. It’s a win win for our family,” said the woman.

After a train passed, a young professional riding her bike from downtown crossed the tracks only to pause at the edge of the pool on her way to hear live music at Alamo Brewery.

“I mean, I was going to have an evening with my friends on the patio at the brewery, but since I can’t get past the pool without a car, I may as well join the real fun!”

The young professional promptly kicked off her shoes and swan dived into the pool, laughing and wiping silt out of her eyes as she resurfaced.

A Dignowity Hill resident brings his baby to cool off on a warm summer night. Photo by Scott Ball

A Dignowity Hill resident brings his baby to cool off on a warm summer night. Photo by Scott Ball

Asked if they were concerned about the train tracks near the pool’s shallow end, city officials again seemed confident.

“Oh, these trains predate human civilization. We’ve evolved to work around them, which is only right, as they were here first,” said the official.

A delegation has been sent to New York City to observe that the High Line Park, in hopes that San Antonio can do the same with their Union Pacific rails, with the added perk of active rail traffic running through the linear park.

“I just think it’s more authentic and exciting that way,” said the head of delegation.

Whatever may come of the rail project, it’s sure to only enhance the Eastside’s summer fun.

Featured/Top Image: A Dignowity Hill father and his young daughter spend their summer vacation enjoying the city’s public pool in Dignowity Hill. Photo by Scott Ball.

Related Stories:

Where I Live: Cherry Street Modern in Dignowity Hill

Immigrating to Dignowity Hill: Empty Lots, Fixer-Uppers, and The Perfect Fit

The G-card: Defining Gentrification in Dignowity Hill

San Antonio in Motion: Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby Brings Families, Neighborhood Together

32 thoughts on “Commentary: Dignowity Hill Gets a Swimming Pool…No Lifeguard

    • Jesus, I see no poor attempt at humor… All I see is Bekah thinking grandiosely get the city’s attention…rather than waiting in telephone calls that then transform into being told to file a complaint on the city website, or write a letter to the president of the United States to get the promise zone a pool !!!! blah blah blah… See my poor attempt at humor right there?

      @BekahMcneel great way to use the Media to reach the City… GENIUS!! I hope they do something about it.

  1. No reason for a lifeguard; if you can’t swim then don’t. Additionally Jesus Rangel I’m sure you can appreciate the ironic humour; I know my time in San Francisco and LA taught me to enjoy the narcissism of the obvious and appreciate the attempts of irony.

  2. Lol. “Oh, these trains predate human civilization. We’ve evolved to work around them, which is only right, as they were here first,” said the official.

  3. Clever article, yet glaringly horrible. A parody that is more realistic than it intends to be. It spotlights the lack of people care that happens until “young bike riding professionals” and the dude the photo show up in economically depressed neighborhoods. Buddha forbid some yuppie can’t ride her bike around, or your Smart car is in danger of being swallowed up trying to get to the biergarten.

    Article and accompanying images are examples of the huge genetrifica…. errr “urban renewal” project taking place on the Eastside. He sure doesn’t look like the Eastside/Dignowity Hill I know.

    Where was the Rivard Report with their biting humor highlighting the poor city services (lack thereof) prior to all the potential $$$ to be made from the highly exploitable land/community of the Eastside before it was unofficially deemed okay to be gentrified?

  4. Welll..
    We’re movvvin’ on up
    To the East Side
    To a deeeluxe apartment
    In the Skyy-yy

    Swimmin’ Pools..

    Movie Stars…

    You got it all Dignowity Hill

  5. Great article that uses humor and satire to bring attention to a serious issue that is prevalent in Dignowity and in on the Eastside in general: crumbling infrastructure, poor drainage, poorly maintained streets, etc, etc. My wife and I have lived in DH since 2007 and the issue of poor infrastructure has been brought to the attention of elected officials and city staff by us and many others over the last 8 years. There are other streets in Dignowity that resemble third world conditions where water collects and sits because there are no curbs or proper drainage. The article highlights a critical gap in infrastructure that needs serious attention from the city in a rapidly evolving and changing neighborhood.

  6. I know that pool, I know it well. We bought downtown property over 10 years ago within 1/4 mile of it. We see people trying to walk to work, bike through it. We have complained, and yet it remains. This area needs a lot of improvements to infrastructure, as Juan says. Great choice, Bekah, you have a lot of people talking, who are laughing and enjoying a story about a problem that needs attention..We need more satiric articles like this. Some people just don’t get satire, however.
    The use of satire to help to correct or better a condition has been a tradition i America, and though satire might be humorous and may “make fun”, its purpose is not to entertain and amuse but actually to derive a reaction of contempt from the reader. Good job.

  7. Why no satirical pieces prior to the gentrification? We all know the East, West and South sides have been and will continue to be a wealth of material for these sorts of pieces.

    Guess I missed those…

    I understand satire, it’s use here is a parody of itself…in the worst kind of way.

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