Austin
3:41 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

These Neighborhood Pools Could Be Closed To Save $405,000

View City of Austin Pools Proposed for Closure in a larger map

Six neighborhood pools could be closed by the City of Austin, as it looks for ways to reduce expenses in the face of a budget deficit as high as $28 million. Two more pools could be closed from September to April to save on water heating costs. The total estimated savings from the closures would be $405,626, according to the Parks and Recreation department.

The pools are Kennemer, Gillis, Civitan, Kealing, Reed, and Shipe. Balcones and Dick Nichols Pools would be closed from September to April.

“Pools are very costly in the area of water and chemicals,” Parks and Recreation director Sara Hensley told KUT News.  “We really need to look at where we need to have pools strategically in the city and probably look at reducing the number of pools we have, because the cost is only going to go up.”

Hensley said her department looked at a number of criteria when considering which pools to propose closing, such as whether there were other nearby pools and the level of usage at the pools. She says they also tried to balance out proposed closures across the city so as not to concentrate them in one particular part of town.

Last year, a proposal to close several neighborhood pools was protested by some East Austinites.

Parks and Recreation is also considering other cost saving measures, like reducing the number of playgrounds sites from 27 to 10, charging a new admission fee at the Zilker Botanical Garden, reducing operations at the Austin Recreation Center, and eliminating several administrative positions.

The city is requesting your input as it considers its menu of possible budget reductions. You can give your feedback on the city’s website.