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City shopping consultants for Austin’s aging pools

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TWC News: City shopping consultants for Austin’s aging pools
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Thursday, Jo Kretzler brought her four girls and two neighbor kids to Northwest Pool. To them, there’s no better place to spend a summer day.

"It's close, it's inexpensive entertainment for kids,” Kretzler said. “They are outside and exercising."

However, the city’s Northwest Pool is showing its age. Cones mark cracks in the pool deck and other dangers.

The average city pool is 44 years old. Some are closed because they cost too much to fix and operate.

It’s a problem Tom Nelson with Austin Parks and Recreation Department hopes to address through an in-depth analysis of all 50 city pools.

"Doing a structural analysis is far different than the basic operation of a pool," he said.

Over at Bartholomew Pool in Northeast Austin, a barbed wire fence and rusty chain keep trespassers from getting into the empty pool which closed a couple years ago.

In the meantime, youngsters can still play in a splash pad the city built on the north end of Bartholomew Park. Nelson says it's at least somewhere to play while the city determines the future of the pool.

"Pools that are built nowadays are more interactive and they are built differently," he said.

But Kretzler says a splash pad's not a viable long-term solution.

"There is less of a safety issue with very young children,” she said. “When they get to be this age, they want to be swimming."

Next week, the Austin City Council is expected to choose the company that will develop the Aquatics Facilities Master Plan. The council meeting starts at 10 a.m. at city hall.

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