CANOGA PARK – Just days after Northridge residents learned their neighborhood pool would be replaced nearly a decade after it was closed by earthquake damage, Canoga Park learned it would also benefit from the $5 million program. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made the announcement at Lanark Park, where the pool has been closed for years because of aging equipment and damage caused by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. But by late 2007, the Canoga Park venue will have a new $6.5 million pool, with $1.8 million coming from the city. Pools in Northridge, Echo Park and South Los Angeles also will benefit from the city funding. “When I was a kid, I had a neighborhood pool to go to,” Villaraigosa said. “Today, many of our neighborhood pools are threatened. Today we’re saying we’re dedicated to improving these pools.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The $5 million is part of $21 million in Municipal Recreation Program funds discovered during a city audit of the Department of Recreation and Parks. The audit found that six of the city’s 54 swimming pools were closed and two dozen had poor infrastructure. Last year, more than 600,000 Los Angeles residents participated in the city’s Free Swim Program. “Our pool system is abysmal,” said Jon Kirk Mukri, general manager of the department. “There hasn’t been any money spent on them in the last 20 years.” Last week, crews broke ground on a $5.8 million pool at Northridge Park. The aquatic center is slated to open in September 2007. Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine said funding was always the issue in getting the Lanark pool in his district up and running. Initial cost estimates came in at $2.5 million, but the price tag now stands at $6.5 million. Most of the funding will come from state and local proposition money. “The taxpayers in the Valley have complained that they are not getting their piece of the pie. Well now they are,” Zine said. “This will be a wonderful benefit to the community.” Apartment buildings surround the 20-acre park, where 20 percent of the population lives at or below poverty level. “I put in numerous hours and time to try to make this park a better place,” said Sandy Kievman, a member of the Canoga Park Advisory Committee. “This park is these kids’ backyard. When it gets to 100 degrees in this Valley, the kids can’t go to their backyard pools. They don’t even get to the beach.” Susan Abram, (818) 713-3664 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!