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Marble Falls parks commission takes look at cost of maintaining city pool

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — The Marble Falls city pool will open May 11, officially kicking off the summer season.

During its May 6 meeting, the Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commission took a look at what the city spends on the pool, 305 Buena Vista Drive. Since 2009, the city has spent $105,800 on the facility including $45,000 for resurfacing and deck repairs.

Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said much of the work has been in trying to keep outdated equipment, including the pumps and filters, functional.

“Everything in that room is duct-taped together,” he said. “We keep our fingers crossed every year.”

City Manager Ralph Hendricks reminded the commissioners that municipalities in other areas have the same challenges regarding public pools.

“They’re money pits,” he said. “That’s part of having a pool.”

Then, he suggested the commission present something to the Capital Improvements Projects committee, the group charged with making spending recommendations to the city council, when it meets in June.

Commission member David Rhodes said he realizes a recommendation regarding updating the pool or building a new one would require a bond.

Commission member Robert Fallis asked if city hall considered putting money into a pool fund each year to help pay expenses or to build a new one.

“We haven’t in recent years because we were going through a recession,” Hendricks said.

Commissioners Leta Stevenson-Smith and Steve Manley both said they believed the community has outgrown the pool that’s believed to be about 35 years old.

In the end, the commissioners voted 4-2 “to ask the council to open the can to explore and research a possible new pool location.”

The parks and recreation commission is an advisory panel that makes recommendations to the city council.

The commission also was told:

•  Swim lessons started May 6 at the pool. The pool will be open each Saturday in May until June 1 for the regular season. Hours are noon-6 p.m.

• The city will activate the first irrigation-reuse system in Johnson Park, 230 S. Ave. J, at 5 p.m. May 7. The reuse system will use reclaimed water from the city’s wastewater plant to irrigate city parks. “This is phase 1A,” Moss said. Mayor George Russell and the city council invited the community to meet at the corner of Yett Street and Avenue J for the event.

• The Parks and Recreation Department expects to hear word about a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department later in May. Once members know if they’ll receive the grant, Moss said the department will be able to plan more of the hike-and-bike trail system.

jfierro@thepicayune.com