Chris Van Horne
The city of Fort Worth is readying one of its closed pools for the 2012 summer, by filling it to test for leaks.
Summer just ended, but the city of Fort Worth is already preparing for next summer.
After a briefing to the city council last week, city parks crews started the process of getting Marine Park Pool ready for next May.
Those who visit the park this week may think they're seeing a mirage as water is actually flowing into the pools for the first time in more than two years.
No one will be swimming in the water until the start of next summer, but crews are presently checking to see how well it holds water. Parks officials have said that they know there are leaks, pipe issues and tile problems, but $120,000 should get the pool ready for a summer run in 2012. It will cost another $100,000 to operate the pool.
The reason why Marine Park Pool was selected is that the facility, built in 1926, is in the best condition and that Northside has no other alternatives.
"There are no YMCAs, the school districts around here don't have pools, this area is the greatest need," said Fort Worth City Councilman Sal Espino.
The preparations for next summer will be for just a short run, because after next summer comes to an end so too will the 85-year-old pool.
"In May 2013, it's going to be a brand new pool, a family aquatic center," Espino said. "[With a] shade house, slide, bath house for $3.5 million, funded by community development block grants."
During this year's election most council members campaigned on opening up the city pools again. Residents were clamoring for something during the record summer heat and are pleased to be seeing some signs of progress.
"I think it's a good idea for the kids around here so they can come and have fun," said Cecilia Juarez, who lives near the park.
Her young children don't know how to swim just yet, but she's hoping with the pool opening they will have that chance.
As of right now there are no other plans regarding the city's aquatic center. The current plan costs $66 million and can't be fully implemented. The parks advisory committee will look at the best way to move forward with additional pools, until then Marine Park may be the city's only entry in the pool business.
However, councilman Joel Burns is working on a public-private partnership to get Forrest Park Pool up and running again, but its not clear how close that is to being accomplished.