City approves dollars to return Wave Pool back to the community
17 Feb 2022
news, City of Seguin, Quality of Life, City Council
Seguin, TX, USA / Seguin Today
(Seguin) — The city of Seguin wants to breathe new life into its wave pool in Max Starcke Park.
The pool has been closed since the end of the summer 2019. Parks Director Jack Jones says the wave pool never reopened because of concerns with the spread of COVID-19.
Jones says they want to reopen the pool this summer, but it’s going to take a significant amount of work to get the pool ready for swimmers again. He says the pools needs to be repainted and several additional improvements need to be made, including upgrades to the office, restrooms, and concession areas near the entrance.
Jones says they will spend about $250,000 to make all of the necessary repairs. He says he’s confident that the work can be done, but he knows that they also will have a staffing issue. He says it’s something they are trying to address at this time.
“The wild card in all of this is staffing. We are going to meet with HR tomorrow and figure out what we have to pay lifeguards because we are competing with Schlitterbahn. Schlitterbahn does pay essentially $17 an hour for a lifeguard for their deep water so we are competing against that and then with COVID-19, the demographics of the workforce has changed so we are going to do the best we can to staff it and get it going six days a week like we used to and do swim lessons and have private parties and things like that,” said Jones.
Jones says the wave pool is popular with some families, but he also knows that the city needs to do a better job of attracting more people to the facility. He says they are also looking at ways that they can increase attendance once the pool reopens this summer.
“We haven’t done a very good job in the past in marketing the wave pool. We’ve got our prices that are affordable — $5 for kids, $6 for adults and private parties are roughly I think they are $525 for three hours. We have swim lessons for $40. We are going to do swim lessons again. So, we are going to do what we can to go back to 2019, the last time we were open and have a successful summer swim season,” said Jones.
The city council approved the necessary expenditures for the pool upgrades during its meeting on Tuesday night. Prior to the vote, the council discussed not only the future of the wave pool, but also discussed the need for more swimming opportunities in Seguin.
Councilman Jeremy Roy questioned if the wave pool was still the draw that it once was. He says some people have complained about the wave pool, and he wondered if the city should focus more on a larger aquatic center.
“This is a quarter of a million dollars on a pool that I hear over and over from people in Seguin saying, ‘Wave pool? Who wants to go to the wave pool?’ kind of stuff so am I missing something? said Roy.
Mayor Donna Dodgen assured Councilman Roy and others that the aquatic center issue is definitely on her radar. She says they’ve had a number of informal talks about it, and it’s also included in the city’s parks master plan. But she says that’s a very different conversation from the wave pool improvements. She says they can fix the wave pool and continue to move forward with talks about a larger facility that could be more conducive to traditional swimming, swim meets and lap swimming.
“I will tell you Jeremey that an aquatics center, we are thinking about but it’s a ways away because of the cost but it hasn’t been dropped and it won’t be dropped as long as I’m mayor,” said Dodgen.
Councilwoman Monica Carter says she hears from people who want the wave pool reopened. Councilman Mark Herbold agreed, and said that the city needs to reevaluate how it uses the wave pool. He says there are ways to make the pool more fun for people who use it.
“The wave pool got boring because of the way it got used. First off, you have it on, the waves, for 10 minutes and then it’s 10 minutes off. Everybody is standing there in the water looking at each other for 10 minutes,” said Herbold.
The council approved spending just over $100,000 to hire Progressive Commercial Aquatics to paint the pool and to make other repairs to the pool. The council also approved a $151,000 expenditure that will allow Sullivan Contracting Services to handle the construction upgrades that are necessary at the site. The city is using federal funds given as part of the pandemic relief to pay for all of the improvements, so local tax dollars are not being used for this project.
Jones again stressed that they are looking at reopening the pool by this summer.