YMCA Opening Pools for Fort Worth

This is second year of city, YMCA agreement

Pools across Fort Worth will open on Saturday just in time for August-like temperatures.

But, like last year, the only open pools are YMCA facilities, not city ones.

"We do expect to be really busy," Fort Worth YMCA CEO Tony Shuman said. "This was a tremendous success last year. Almost 3,500 kids and families entered our pools during the summertime, and we expect that number to grow this summer."

Budget conditions forced the city to close six of its seven pools for the season. The seventh pool, Forest Park Pool, closed at the end of August because of maintenance issues.

Operating and maintaining those pools cost $1 million per year. The city now pays for some of the operating costs of the Community Swim Program -- approximately $10,500 this year.

The YMCA will open the E.R. Van Zant Southwest, Eastside and McDonald Community pools on Saturday. Westside YMCA will open later in the week because of maintenance.

Every day until Aug. 20 -- except for Sundays at McDonald -- the pools will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

A YMCA membership is not needed, but it will cost $1 for children and $2 for adults to swim, just as it did at city pools in the past.

The arrangement is a good solution for the budgetary problem, as the city's pools will likely never open again given the cost to refurbish them. But the city admitted it isn't ideal.

"We always work and find those partnerships that can help the community," Fort Worth spokesman Jason Lamers said. "While this is not the ideal situation -- we'd like to have all the pools open -- this is sort of meeting the citizens halfway to offer some kind of service."

The city is developing an aquatics master plan that will be shaped by the needs and wants of the community, but it will likely take some time to develop.

In the meantime, the city and the YMCA will continue their partnership to give residents somewhere to cool off and learn how to swim.

"That's a long process, so we ask the residents for some patience at this time," Lamers said. "But we're very thankful that the YMCA has stepped up and could be a partner at this time."

"We're very open to continuing this long into the future depending on the wants and needs of the community and the city's plans," Shuman said.

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