STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
The city pool at Lakeside Park in Marble Falls will be closed for the summer.
Ongoing construction at the park and on Buena Vista Drive forced city officials to make a decision regarding the pool with its June 1 opening just a month away.
Marble Falls Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss said a few issues contributed to the decision, the most important being safety.
Overhead utilities along Buena Vista Drive are being moved underground. As of May 1, those utilities remain in the middle of what will be a new, wider street. The utilities ran in the median between Buena Vista and a long parking lot adjacent to the old tennis courts and down to the pool.
People trying to navigate in and out of the pool area as utility work continues was a concern.
“We’re just so concerned with the safety aspect of it that it’s just not smart,” Moss said.
The city contracts with the YMCA of the Highland Lakes at Galloway-Hammond to operate the pool and needed 30 days’ notice to cancel that contract.
“We’ve done that,” Moss said of the notice. “We met with them and basically advised them we’re not going to be needing their services this year.”
The city is working with the YMCA of the Highland Lakes to offer similar pool accessibility this summer at the Burnet facility.
“They’ve been a good partner with us. We want it to be as seamless as possible to utilize their facilities,” Moss said.
Another contributing factor to the pool’s closure this summer is the ongoing Lakeside Park project. The original change order late last year to bring down costs within the city’s budget included a 45-day extension to complete the work. That put the end of the contract at Aug. 15.
Moss said much of the remaining work to be done is on the utilities along Buena Vista that run to the pool and Lakeside Pavilion. The beach project is on pace to be done this summer.
“Lakeside Park will be open this summer. It’ll be open; I’m sure the beach will be open when this is all done, but the pool itself is not going to open this year,” Moss said.
Although the public is just hearing about the pool closure, Moss said it’s not a huge surprise within the city.
“No, it’s not a surprise because I’ve been watching it,” Moss said. “We got up to a point where a decision had to be made. We had contracts and things to consider. We wanted to give the public plenty of time to adjust to the change. Just one month out from it, it was time.”