Colonial Pool Closed Forever

September 2, 2009

For years, West University Place’s legions of lap swimmers complained about too-hot or too-cold water temperatures, the sagging winter “bubble,” and too much chlorine at Colonial Park pool.

Due to continuing issues of “water clarity,” the 61-year old swimming pool was closed Tuesday.

It will be gone forever, to be replaced by an all-new family-oriented swimming pool that is scheduled for construction on an ambitious 9-month time frame.

The City of West U hopes to have a grand opening ceremony for the new swimming pool on Memorial Day weekend, 2010.

In a message posted on the city’s web-site, the Parks and Recreation Department stated: “We regret to inform you that the pool has been closed for the season due to ongoing water clarity issues.”

In the meantime, West U has arranged for avid lap swimmers to use the swimming pool at the University of Texas. All that takes is a Colonial Park membership card, and a $3 admission fee.

 The weight room, cardio room and racquetball courts at Colonial Park will remain open through Labor Day.

City of West U Park and Recreation Director Tim O’Connor said that city staff reluctantly decided to close the pool early because of two weeks of water quality problems.

“For two weeks, we’d been struggling with clarity and turbidity issues – basically the solids in the water,” O’Connor said. “I can’t emphasize enough that the water was chemically sound. Nobody was at risk by swimming in the pool. But it was just very aesthetically unappealing.

The filter at the pool, which was built in 1948, had been challenged all summer by a doubling of the number of swimmers, since the pool at the West U Rec Center already had closed, O’Connor said.

“It was all a matter of safety; we couldn’t comfortably see the deep end. We didn’t want people’s last memories of Colonial Pool to be comparable to the seal exhibit at the Hermann Park zoo,” O’Connor said. “That’s one of the primary reasons we’re building a new pool. The mechanical equipment is just antiquated.”

O’Connor said that the pool was closed without any ceremonial “last swim” because it has such strong sentimental value to so many West U residents.

“There were no closing ceremonies, out of respect for a lot of our 20-year and 30-year plus swimmers. It is a loss for them. We felt it prudent to save our celebrations for the opening of a new pool,” O’Connor said.

“It’s been a big part of their lives for a lot of years. And we are sensitive to that.”

A native of West U, O’Connor said the pool’s closing also was “bittersweet” for him.

“It was a big part of my life as a youngster,” O’Connor said. “I was a little bit emotional knowing it was the final day.”

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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