The city of Austin just announced a $100 incentive to hire lifeguards for the summer swim season. But now, news is spreading that at least two of the city's facilities will remain closed with others on a list that could see the same fate.
According to KXAN, Metz Pool, on Austin’s east side, and Mabel Davis Pool, on the south side, will remain closed for the summer, with officials citing costly repair work as the culprit. All told, the Parks and Recreation Department indicated that 25 of Austin's 36 pools are in need of repairs, mostly for water leaks.
"Our average age of our pools is 50 years old,” Cheryl Bolin, the aquatics division manager, told the news agency. “With that comes a lot of maintenance. They develop leaks, and so that increases our fees for water, electricity, chemicals, and day to day repairs.”
The fate of at least seven other pools is in uncertain, Bolin said, and the facilities potentially could close in the next five years. Although funding is in place to fix two of the pools, funds have not been budgeted to repair the others.
Austin is just one of many locales struggling to keep their facilities afloat. In 2012, Aquatics International reported that nearly 50 percent of operators said their facilities are 20 years old or more, and that a majority of those respondents had no plans to update them due to budget constraints.