FORT WORTH -- With City Council members demanding that Fort Worth get back into the pool business, officials unveiled a plan Tuesday to reopen the closed Marine Park pool next summer.
The $250,000 Band-Aid approach for the north-side pool is intended to last for only a summer, Assistant City Manager Susan Alanis said.
The pool was chosen because it is in a part of the city with few other publicly accessible pools and because it would be the cheapest to reopen.
Officials will start filling the pool Monday to begin assessing its condition.
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Even if all goes as planned, reopening the Marine Park pool would only be a short-term fix, officials stressed.
Under the plan discussed Tuesday, it would be demolished at the end of next summer to make room for a $3.5 million aquatics center with a multiuse pool and a water slide.
But Alanis said funding must still be identified, which could involve shifting federal funds. To design and build a new pool by 2013 will require an official notice to proceed by March and construction starting by Aug. 20, 2012.
The closed Forest Park pool, which was by far the most popular pool in the city, is irreparable. Councilman Joel Burns has been working on a plan for a public-private partnership for that facility. The city hopes to have more information about that in the next 30 to 60 days, Mayor Betsy Price said.
The Forest Park pool, the last municipal pool in operation, closed last year after its nearly 20-year-old liner detached. Marine Park and the other five pools -- Como, Hillside, Kellis, Sycamore and Sylvania -- have been closed since 2009 because of budget cuts. The city does operate a splash pad in Sycamore Park.
More pools needed
But Councilman Sal Espino and Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks, while praising the Marine Park plan as a positive step, would like to see more pools opened citywide.
"We really have a serious problem here," said Hicks, who added that one apartment complex effectively became the unofficial city swimming pool for southeast Fort Worth during the summer.
Hicks requested that the city return with a plan to open another pool in south or southeast Fort Worth by summer 2013. She said the city could use some gas well revenue and other funds to do so.
Alanis said the city would research those funds and come back to the council with a report about whether it would be appropriate to use them toward another pool.
City officials also said they intend to use YMCA pools again next summer, but those plans have yet to be formalized. A YMCA official said it is receptive to having the pools open to the public again.
"I feel like we have been talking with the city and continue to work with them," said Hope Caldwell, the YMCA's marketing director. "Our goal is to provide access to kids in the area. If kids swimming in the pool continues to be a need, then we want to address that need in any way we can."
The city also plans to work with the park board to decide whether the city's aquatics master plan is still feasible by March as part of the budget process for fiscal 2013.
Staff writer Terry Evans contributed to this report.
Bill Hanna, 817-390-7698