PARADISE (CBS13) — It is a big symbol of the resurgence in the community of Paradise. For the first time since the Camp Fire destroyed the town, the public swimming pool will open back up for families this weekend.
“I mean, normally this time of year there’d be kids in the pool right now,” Paradise Parks and Recreation District Supervisor Jeff Dailey said. “It’s kind of strange to have it empty.”
Dailey is one of the thousands of people in Paradise who lost his home in the wildfire.
“Probably the biggest challenge is living in a new place, and losing all your things,” Dailey said.
Dailey’s family is ready for a return to the public pool.
Cal Fire firefighters used their hoses to blast clean water back into the pool last week after the Camp Fire left the pool filled with charred debris. It destroyed the pool’s snack shack, which has yet to be re-built.
Ravi and Mary Saip live across the street from the Paradise Public Pool.
“So seeing the pool open up is like another stage of a gathering place, we’re coming back,” Ravi Saip said, “So little pockets are coming back to normal, they’re very small pockets but it’s really nice to see.”
The Saip’s home survived the fire, and now that they’ve returned to it, the pool’s reopening means more reconnecting with neighbors.
“The need to be together and share stories is really important,” Mary Saip said. “So many people are traumatized by evacuations and losing everything.”
The post-Camp Fire population is a small one. Vacant lots of land where homes once stood now make up most of the city.
Approximately 90% of people here have been forced out. Their homes destroyed or damaged.
“A lot of people are living in temporary housing, in other areas, other towns,” Dailey said.
This city that is rebuilding now has its public pool back. It’s a message from the Park and Recreation District.
This is not just a place to play. It’s a place to see Paradise with a promising future.
“A positive signal to the town that we’re back, we’re here,” Dailey said.
The Paradise public pool opens at noon on Sunday, July 21. It will be open seven days a week through the end of summer.