Marble Falls parks and rec commission OKs $72,000 for upgrades to city pool

JENNIFER FIERRO • PICAYUNE STAFF

MARBLE FALLS — After a 30-minute discussion Jan. 6, Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Commissioners approved 5-0 to allow Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss to take $72,000 out of the Capital Improvements Projects money to pay for upgrades at the city pool.

The CIP fund has $100,000 available. The move will allow the pool to open on schedule this spring.

The pool needs a new pump, improvements to the pump room, new lifeguard stands, a new diving board and new fencing.

Moss said he needed commissioners to take a vote during the regular meeting in order for the project to be completed so the pool can open on time in May.

Commissioners wanted to address concerns with city council about using CIP money to pay for things they believe should be covered by other sources such as general funding. The city and the commissioners are holding a workshop Feb. 4 regarding park projects.

“I would hold off,” Commissioner William Hurst said. “That’s the whole purpose of having (the workshop).”

But Moss said waiting until the workshop means a strong possibility of delaying the opening of the pool.

“I would feel there are some safety issues (at the pool),” he said. “You guys put me on hold (in December). … At best, it’s a three-month project.”

Chairman Dave Rhodes spoke to the council during its citizens’ comments portion of the regular council meeting in late December. But by law, council members could not respond to his comments.

So, during the commissioners meeting, Rhodes speculated on what council members would say regarding delaying the opening of the pool.

“I would anticipate the wish of council is the pool would open on time,” he said.

He added, if there was money elsewhere, acting City Manager Margie Cardenas would have found it.

“In funding us, they’d cut something else,” Rhodes said.

Cardenas said there is nothing in general funding into which city hall can tap to pay for the repairs.

Commissioner Mark McCary said he believes citizens want the pool open on time.

Rhodes, however, was concerned that pouring money into the current pool wasn’t a wise use of financial resources.

“If we spend the $70,000 to get it to operating conditions,” Rhodes said, “essentially, we spent all of CIP in one place. I don’t want to throw good money into bad money.”

“But that’s your choice,” Commissioner Steve Manley replied. “(If the pool doesn’t open), we’re going to have riots in the streets.”

Hurst asked if it was possible to do only part of the renovation with the aim of not spending most of the CIP funding.

Moss said he already accepted a bid from a contractor for the entire project, and he would have to accept a new request for proposal. But with $20,000, he thought lifeguard stands and a new pump could be replaced.

“Delaying the construction is the same as not opening,” Rhodes said. “Shutting down the pool, I promise, is not in (the city council’s) vocabulary right now.”

The joint workshop with the commissioners and members of the city council is 4 p.m. Feb. 4 at the council chambers, 800 Third St.

The commissioners also were told:

  • to study the fees sheet regarding cost of rentals for the pool, Lakeside Pavilion and other parks and return in February to discuss whether those fees need to be adjusted;
  • and that Manley and Hurst need help in getting decades-old photos of Johnson Park for distinction from Lone Star Legacy Park. If citizens can help, call the Parks and Recreation Department at (830) 798-6250

jfierro@thepicayune.com