City proposes 3 splash pads to replace Lubbock pools

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The budget proposed by the City of Lubbock includes a capital project using $5.1 million in ARPA funding to design and construct three splash pads to replace the Mae Simmons, Maxey and Montelongo pools, leaving only the Clapp Park pool.

According to budget documents, the three pools would be demolished and filled with splash pad facilities built in the same locations.

“We all saw what happened at Montelongo this year,” City Manager Jarrett Atkinson told the council during a budget presentation. “At some point it is happening to the others. We’re losing the ability to keep those functioning.”

The City of Lubbock delayed the opening of the Montelongo pool this summer, eventually closing it due to repairs. It’s at Rodgers Park.

“The way those pools were constructed, if we put substantial capital dollars into it, it triggers all of your modern codes and they cannot be made compliant with those codes,” Atkinson said. “I can’t fix them. If we choose instead to replace them, we can, but we do not have the funding to do that.”

Instead, Atkinson recommends the city use the federal pandemic relief funding from the American Rescue Plan Act for the splash pads.

“I think that we would provide an amenity that would have even greater use than our pools,” Atkinson said. “It reduces our staffing cost, our chemical cost, our liability cost and it’s just more accessible. They’ll work longer throughout the year than the swimming pools will.”

Atkinson told Mayor Tray Payne the splash pads would operate at least six months of the year with sensors to control the operation of them, based on air temperatures and wind speeds.

“Just the personnel savings will hit a million dollars in three to four years,” Atkinson said. “The splash pads that we’re proposing are the recirculating splash pads. They’re not the drain-away splash pads, so they’re still very waterwise installations, as well.”

District 1 Councilwoman Christy Martinez-Garcia expressed support for the project and asked if the splash pads would include a pavilion, park equipment and bathrooms.

KCBD requested a copy of renderings from the City of Lubbock and was told those were not available at this time.

“I believe they’ve got a small shade structure/pavilion associated with them, benches around the exterior of it,” Atkinson told Martinez-Garcia.

District 6 Councilwoman Latrelle Joy also said she had no problem with the proposal, since the pools were built in the 1950s.

“There’s nothing in the way of repairs that can make it what it needs to be, from a safety standpoint or from being able to utilize it,” Joy said. “We haven’t done a splash pad. But, when we get them, we’ll just invite everybody out to come do a little splashing around with us to see what they think.”

The Lubbock City Council has concluded budget work sessions and will consider it, including the property tax rate, over the next several council meetings. A public hearing on the budget is set for September 6.

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