Austin planning numerous pool renovations, replacements
The City of Austin is in the final stages of creating an aquatics master plan. Once finished, the plan will determine how pools are repaired and upgraded as well as where new pools go over the next two decades.
City pools are supposed to have a life span between 25-30 years, but Austin has several pools that are twice or even three times that age:
- Givens Pool- 64 years old
- Montopolis Pool- 38 years old
- Northwest Pool- 60 years old
- Gillis Pool-62 years old
- Civitan Pool-52 years old
- Govalle Pool- 62 years old
- Shipe Pool-82 years old
Consultants are recommending numerous pools get significant renovations or complete replacements.
At Bartholomew pool in East Austin, families are coming and going all day.
"We live not too far away from here and we wanted a change from Deep Eddy because -- while we love it there -- it's always a little bit too cold," says Amanda Lawrence.
Lawrence brought 6-year-old Peter, and 9-year-olds Field and Liam to Bartholomew Tuesday. The pool is just two years old and quickly gaining popularity.
"There's a bunch of cool waterslides and it's just really fun," says Field.
"There's just so much of a variety here. They have the slides and the lily pad and the diving board," adds Lawrence. They think more pools like Bartholomew could better serve Austin.
"This pool is always so crowded, so I feel like if they made more it would be less crowded," adds Liam.
A few miles away you'll find a dry pool and empty lifeguard seat baking in the summer sun. Hyde Park's Shipe neighborhood pool is more than 80 years old. It's closed this summer but getting a facelift this fall.
Tuesday night, Austin's parks department had one last check-in with the community to make sure they've heard their concerns correctly. In a public meeting, they presented findings and recommendations for Austin aquatics.
Through numerous surveys and community meetings the parks department found:
- 67 percent of Austinites would like to see the swim season increased
- 63 percent of Austinies would like to see more shade at pools
- 33 percent of Austinites would like to see upgraded pool houses and bath houses
"We're making sure that whatever we're suggesting or recommending for the future, all Austinites would have equal access to their pools," says Cara Welch, public information specialist with the City of Austin.
The final aquatics master plan could also include a centralized natatorium. Surveys revealed 58 percent of Austinites supported the creation of a natatorium while 22 percent were neutral and 20 percent in opposition.
Any major upgrades or construction is contingent on funding which could come from a future bond.
Currently the City of Austin has 51 public aquatic facilities consisting of seven municipal pools, 28 neighborhood pools, 3 wading pools, 11 splash pads, one rental facility at Commons Ford Ranch and Barton Springs Pool.