3 Austin pools to be closed for 2017 season

Givens Pool in East Austin (KXAN photo)
Givens Pool in East Austin (KXAN photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin pool leaking more than 50,000 gallons a day tops the list of pools that won’t be in use this summer.

Govalle, Shipe and Givens pools will be closed for repairs in 2017 after being deemed in ‘critical condition’ per the 2014 Aquatic Assessment.

Givens, which was built in 1958, was discovered to have been leaking more than 50,000 gallons of water per day through cracks in the pool wall. The water would flow into the pump room, the assessment determined.

The cracks in the wall were determined to have formed due to foundation movement, which requires more surveying for crews to determine how to properly fix it. The preliminary recommendation to fix the pool is to seal the cracks and joints on the pool’s surface. The long-term solution would require the repair, or replacement of the pipe system.

Crews will work on Givens pool this summer with funds from the 2012 Bond program. It should reopen in summer 2018. According to a city memorandum, the money needed to make the repairs to Givens will deplete the funds needed for any future repairs for the 2018 season.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department will offer transportation for Austinites who would regularly use Govalle and Givens pools. How that will be handled will be announced at a later date.

Both Shipe and Govalle pools are in need of critical repairs but will be completely remodeled for the 2018 swim season. The city says they could not justify pouring thousands of dollars into repairs for facilities already scheduled to be redone. Each pool has over $3 million in funds to make improvements. They were one-time funds allocated by the city.

“Our pools are old,” said Jodi Jay, Aquatics Division Manager. “The life expectancy of a pool is about 25 years and Givens Pool itself is 59 years old. It has greatly outlived its life expectancy.”

Some community members in the Hyde Park neighborhood say they were taken off guard with the news.

“I think that’s the frustration is that we were told this two months before it’s set to open,” said Reid Long, Co-President of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association. “There’s a lot of people that have lived in the neighborhood, grown up in the neighborhood and that’s where their kids go. That’s where they go to enjoy take a break from the summer heat.”

Many wish they could have had a proper ‘goodbye’ and now that won’t happen.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association is planning to ask the city to speed up the process for their new pool, so that it will definitely be open in 2018.

Jay says she is positive the remodel will be done in time for next year’s swim season.

On a positive note, the city says they are on track to have enough lifeguards this year. They have over 250 on payroll and ready to work, which is twice as many compared to this time last year. They need about 650-750 lifeguards once the season begins.

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