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Free swimming for octogenarians

Friday, November 20, 2015 by Jo Clifton

Good news for you swimmers who are at least 80 years old: City Council has voted to allow you to swim for free at all Austin city pools. The vote was 10-1, with only Council Member Don Zimmerman opposed. This is the second time the item has come up. Council Member Delia Garza wondered why the age was 80, saying that she would be willing to let anyone 75 years old or above swim for free. Council Member Ora Houston reminded her colleagues that the item was coming back because former Mayor Frank Cooksey had come to Council for a free pass to Barton Springs Pool for his wife, Lynn, who recently turned 80. At the time, anyone of that age or above who wanted a free swimming pass had to ask Council for that privilege. (Otherwise, 80-year-old swimmers have been paying $1 to swim.) Houston said a lot of people don’t have time or even know that they can ask for the free pass, and she wanted the free swimming to be automatic for anyone at least 80 years old. Parks and Recreation Department Assistant Director Kimberly McNeeley explained that the original age for Council to award the free swimming pass was 85, but that was later lowered to 80. McNeeley said the estimated fiscal impact of the new change would be about $18,000.

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