CITY COUNCIL WORRIES THAT POOLS PLAN IS DIVISIVE
Proposal ranks pools for repairs, urges closing 10 facilities to save money.
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