Austin City Council to hear new aquatic plan that could close multiple pools

Austin's pools are a relief for many families during the summer -- but the upkeep they need could soon bring a big burden.

AUSTIN - When the mercury rises, Austin's pools are a relief for many families. But the upkeep they need could soon bring a big burden.

Consultants said it could cost up to $190 million to fix them.

Reed Pool is a quiet and serene place for central Austinites to enjoy a swim, and for mom Lyndsay Mabry to watch poolside.

"It's easy," she said. "When you're a parent with small children, you like to have easy entertainment for them."

Reed Pool was built back in 1956, and it has a few issues. That's not uncommon in Austin.

The city surveyed all 33 of the city's pools in the aquatics master plan, and found Reed Pool has rusting doors and windows, rusting pipes and an uneven pool deck.

The issues contributed to a low sustainability rating for Reed Pool, one of 14 pools with that designation.

Thirteen-hundred Austinites helped gather the information city-wide, according to Cara Welsh of the Austin Parks and Recreation department

"It's based on future growth, its based on attendance and then there are other environmental and regulatory factors -- all of those things," Welsh said. "It's actually 77 different elements that were looked at."

The plan said to have all necessary repairs done, to upgrade four of the city's pools to aquatic centers and to build a new indoor training facility that would cost $193 million.

A less expensive $152 million plan is favored, which would close 10 of the pools.

Fans of Reed Pool hope it will stay open.

"I wouldn't argue with upgrades but it's certainly fine the way it is for us," said Kate Waitzkin.

The mom of three little swimmers believes the bond needed to raise all that cash would pass.

"It gets so hot here in the summertime that we need places to cool off. So yeah, I think people would be willing to help," Waitzkin said.

The head of the Austin Parks and Recreation department will present a briefing to Austin City Council on the Aquatic Master Plan on Tuesday.

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