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Only Fort Worth-owned pool still open forced to close

FORT WORTH -- The Forest Park pool, the last city-owned pool that was still open, is closing early.

City officials said Thursday that they have to close the public pool, the first one built in Fort Worth, because the nearly 20-year-old liner has detached and could be a risk for swimmers.

"It's unfortunate we find it necessary for the safety of the people to have to close the last pool we have," Mayor Mike Moncrief said.

The pool, which is on the chopping block in the city's proposed 2011 budget, would have been open until Labor Day.

"Our No. 1 priority is the safety of our citizens," Parks Director Richard Zavala said. "Unfortunately the pool is unusable in its current condition."

The pool, which draws about 43,000 visitors each year, holds 750,000 gallons of water. City officials say the pool complex was built in 1922.

The current liner was installed in 1992 for about $666,000, but officials say it failed because of age and exposure to swimming pool chemicals and natural elements. The cost of replacing the liner is about $1.5 million, and the cost of refurbishing the entire pool is nearly $3 million, according to a 2007 swimming pool audit.

"We're talking about something that would be extremely hard to repair," Moncrief said.

A proposal to close the pool and end the city's aquatics services was already part of City Manager Dale Fisseler's proposed budget.

The city's other six pools -- Como, Hillside, Kellis, Marine, Sycamore and Sylvania -- didn't open this year because of cuts in last year's budget.

City officials say residents may still swim at four YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth pools through Aug. 21. The cost is $1 for children and $1.50 for adults at the McDonald Community YMCA, 2400 E. Berry St.; Eastside YMCA, 1500 Sandy Lane; Van Zandt Southwest YMCA, 4750 Barwick Drive; and Westside YMCA, 8201 Calmont Ave.

Anna M. Tinsley, 817-390-7610

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