CITY COUN­CIL WOR­RIES THAT POOLS PLAN IS DI­VI­SIVE

Pro­posal ranks pools for re­pairs, urges clos­ing 10 fa­cil­i­ties to save money.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By El­iz­a­beth Fin­dell efind­ell@states­man.com

A new master plan for Austin’s swim­ming pool sys­tem stands to pit City Coun­cil mem­bers with cen­tral city districts and de­te­ri­o­rat­ing neigh­bor­hood pools against those with far­ther-out districts and few pools in a tu­gof-war over the lim­ited dol­lars for aquatic fa­cil­i­ties.

The master plan, un­der­way since 2012 and pre­sented to the coun­cil for the first time in a brief­ing Tues­day, ranks city swim­ming pools for re­pairs and rec­om­mends clos­ing an un­spec­i­fied 10 to save money.

Austin has a large sys­tem of very old, costly neigh­bor­hood pools in the city’s core, but fewer else­where.

Staff mem­bers es­ti­mated it would cost $48.6 mil­lion just to keep the ex­ist­ing pools from fail­ing, $135.8 mil­lion to do rec­om­mended re­pairs and up­grades on all those fa­cil­i­ties and $57.6 mil­lion to build a rec­om­mended four new com­mu­nity pools and an un­de­ter­mined fa­cil­ity at Colony Park.

Clos­ing the city’s least-ef­fi­cient pools, par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas where there are oth­ers nearby, could free up funds to build larger new pools where there are none, the plan sug­gests.

Coun­cil Mem­ber Kathie Tovo, whose Cen­tral Austin district in­cludes many older neigh­bor­hood pools, wasn’t at the brief­ing, but said on the coun­cil mes­sage board that she in­tends to ask for a post­pone­ment of a de­ci­sion on the master plan from next week un­til at least Aug. 17.

Sev­eral coun­cil mem­bers on

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