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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015 by Elizabeth Pagano
Metz and Mabel Davis pools to remain open
This summer, the Parks and Recreation Department plans to keep open both Metz Neighborhood Pool and Mabel Davis Municipal Pool.
Late last month, the department announced its intention to close the District 3 pools. Last summer, Mabel Davis lost 25,561 gallons of water each day and Metz lost 21,192. Each saw declined usage, according to the department.
The plan to close the pools faced immediate backlash.
Tuesday, in a memo to Mayor Steve Adler and City Council, Parks and Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley explained that after stakeholders, policymakers and community members asked the city to reconsider the temporary closures, the department “invested additional resources into detecting and repairing the infrastructure we believe is responsible for the leaks.”
“It is the Department’s intention to open both Metz Neighborhood Pool and Mabel Davis Municipal Pool for the 2015 summer swim season,” wrote Hensley.
Though that is good news for those who fought to keep the pools open, Hensley warns that while they think they have identified the causes of the leaks, “it is highly possible water leaks will continue throughout the season.”
Hensley also cautions that her department has limited resources to repair infrastructure, and should another emergency repair come up, it may face “another critical financial decision” that could put pool closures on the table again.
Hensley wrote that moving forward, she will monitor the situation at these two pools as well as the 23 other pools that have leaks as part of “the community conversation regarding the future Aquatics Division operations in Austin.”
Though the pools will remain open, other cost-saving measures, including a return to a staggered facility opening and closing schedule, will proceed as planned. The parks department estimates that it will cost the city $41 million to restore all of its public pools to good working condition.
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Key Players & Topics In This Article
City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department: The city department responsible for the city's park system, rec centers, and associated infrastructure.