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Escondido’s financial officials are searching for ways to fill the $2.9 million gap for fiscal year 2011. Their search appears to be focused on the recreation department.

During the May 11 city council meeting, financial director Gil Rojas will present options that would cut more than $860,000 from the recreation department.

Those options include increasing program fees, reducing hours at the two municipal swimming pools, and more drastic options, such as draining Jim Stone Pool in Grape Day Park, and shutting down the Escondido Skate Park.

Closing Jim Stone Pool and the skate park, however, would leave many school children without swim programs, and teenagers would need to look for other ways to fill their time.

“The capacity at Washington Park [pool] is not adequate to meet all of the demands for programming, particularly by the schools,” reads a memo from the financial director.

As for the skate park, which costs the city more than $215,000 per year to operate, Rojas and his team are presenting some other alternatives, such as reducing hours that skaters, in-liners, and BMX bikers can use the park, and renting the park to private parties.

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