Faced with a plan that will likely result in the closure of some city pools, the Austin Parks and Recreation Board failed to endorse the city’s proposed aquatics master plan, the Austin American-Statesman reported Sunday.
The proposal was the first full draft of the city’s plan, which it has been working on since 2012, the paper reported. The report ranks swimming pools in terms of suitability repairs and recommends closing 10 of them (not yet specified) as well as $152 million on upgrades to other pools (also unspecified) and construction of four new pools—with no current source of money for the projects—the article added.
Parks Board member Rick Cofer (echoed by a Statesman headline writer) invoked a dramatic-sounding “Hunger Games” scenario if the current draft were to go into effect: one that pits neighborhoods against one over which will receive or be denied working, well-maintained city pools.
The parks board agreed unanimously at its July 25 meeting with Cofer, the Statesman added, making no recommendation on the plan and requesting the creation of a working group to work on the issue. The council is scheduled for briefing on the report Tuesday and for a vote on the matter on Aug. 10.
Consulting firm Brandstetter Carroll, working with Austin staff, ranked pools’ suitability for improvements, based on criteria including neighborhood demographics, accessibility, and current condition, the paper reported.
The study ranking 14 of the city’s 33 city pools as “low” on the suitability for improvements scale; some of those—including Big Stacy, Shipe, Parque Zaragosa, Ramsey, Govalle, and Northwest pools—are some of the city’s most popular or are in some of its oldest central neighborhoods.