FORT WORTH — Taking a dip in the Forest Park swimming pool this summer — and learning how to actually swim for that matter — just got more expensive.The Fort Worth City Council on Tuesday approved higher admission rates. The fee to get into the pool is going up $2 for both adults and children — $4 to $6 for adults and $3 to $5 for children. The rates will now be the same as Marine Creek Pool on the northwest side of town. Swimming lessons at both pools are increasing from $25 to $30 for each participant, but the city will continue to provide scholarships of various amounts to students in need, said Community Services and Parks Director Richard Zavala. “If we can offer the scholarships on a sliding scale, we make our money go further and teach more kids. Learning to swim is such a vital skill,” Zavala said. Last year, the city taught 1,248 kids in the program and offered 229 scholarships. This year, the scholarship fund has a starting balance of $13,000. The rate increase is meant to keep the city subsidy for the pool program at 33 percent and the additional projected revenue for the rate increases were included in the fiscal year 2014 budget. The pools are expected to open May 24. The vote was 8-0, with Councilman Sal Espino absent. Other council action In other business, the council created a homelessness task force to advise the council on opportunities to streamline the funding and delivery of services to the homeless. The creation of the task force is in response to complaints voiced at a March joint meeting between the council and the city’s Advisory Commission on Ending Homelessness that the city is not doing enough to address the problem.Comprising 10 members, the task force includes: Ted Blevins, retired executive director for nearly 30 years of the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth; Don Boren, businessman and community leader for east Fort Worth; J.R. Labbe, vice president for communications and community affairs for John Peter Smith Health Network; and June Davis, director of special programs for the Fort Worth school district. It will be co-chaired by council members Kelly Allen Gray and Danny Scarth. Gray’s district includes the East Lancaster corridor, where the homeless shelters and services are concentrated. The task force is expected to review the roles of all major organizations that fund or deliver services to homeless people in Fort Worth, analyze the flow of financial resources, asses the efficiency of the service delivery and identify opportunities to improve communication among public and nonprofit agencies. The members are expected to present an interim report of findings by June 3, conduct public meetings and present a final report of conclusions and recommendations to the council by July 22.
Caty Hirst, 817-390-7984 Twitter: @catyhirst