As Council Splits $329,000 Windfall, Mayor Rawlings Tells You Why Dallas' Pools Suck

Categories: City Hall

Now, all Dallas pools will be open five days per week.
The Dallas City Council is meeting this morning to decide how it wants to divide a last-minute, $329,000 windfall in the form of additional franchise fees from Oncor. In the context of the a $2.57-billion budget, it's peanuts, but it offers council members a way to fund their own pet projects, many of which have been gutted during the past several years.

Sheffie Kadane wanted to put the money toward libraries, extending their closing time from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Jerry Allen wanted to put $200,000 into a free tax preparation program to help claim the earned income tax credit. Vonciel Jones Hill said $10,000 should go to the African American Museum in Fair Park. Several members joined together to request money for Dallas Summer Musicals and the Office of Cultural Affairs.

The most widespread support was for restoring hours to pools. Councilwomen Carolyn Davis and Monica Alonzo led the push to divert $220,000 to keep five locations -- Samuell Grand, H.R. Moore, Bonnie View, Glendale, and Exline -- open for five days per week instead of just two.

"That is totally unfair," Davis said of budget cuts that disproportionately affected hours of operation at pools in Dallas "where kids tend to come out more and swim in the summertime.

Alonzo recounted a time kids were caught jumping the fence to swim in a closed city pool in her district.

"Why I am so passionate, myself, in this is ... not only do we not have more access to the pools, we don't have the rec centers, they're not open," she said. "Where else can they go? What else can they do?"

The problem at those pools was that fewer kids were going there, said Park and Rec director Paul Dyer. That's why their hours were reduced when it came time to cut the budget.

There was some talk about attracting more swimmers through swim teams and outreach programs, at which point Mayor Mike Rawlings jumped in.

"The reason people aren't in those pools is they're old-style pools," Rawlings said. "They're bad products."

Of course, doing something about that would take a lot more than $329,000, so it will have to wait for a later day.

In the end, the council allocated $211,000 to pools, $50,000 to the Office of Cultural Affairs, $10,000 to the African American Museum, $48,000 to Dallas Summer Musicals, and the $10,000 to the tax prep program.

My Voice Nation Help

He's comparing dallas pools to small outdoor water parks that are operated by other nearby city municipalities. Families with very small children feel left out in large pools but flock to these water parks like crazy and adults enjoy them as well because their kids can have a good time in water with a depth that is graduated to each child's height so they don't fret as much about safety. The irony is that dumping 2 ft of concrete in the shallow end of most traditional pools would increase attendence proportionate to the lost swimming area.


Skatepark........Solves shitty pools & a desperate need in one move


Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

""The reason people aren't in those pools is they're old-style pools," Rawlings said. "They're bad products.". Doesn't seem too he hurting the FOE.

observist topcommenter

I'm not an anti-government guy, but something is wrong when the municipal government is spending money on a program to help people get more money from the federal government.


Have I missed something? Have we suddenly discovered a new way to construct a pool? Is Rawlings trying to say that a big hole in the ground filled with water is now such an old-fashioned an idea that nobody will come there in 100 + degree heat to frolic and cool off?


I'm always the last to know.

ChrisYu topcommenter

let's all go swimming in the Mayor's nice pool.



 I truly wonder exactly what the 10K is for.  This program is sponsored by the IRS, they recruit volunteers who train and manage it, and has been so for years.


 @observist why? the tax code is confusing even to people who navigate it for a living. helping poor people figure out whether they qualify to pay lower taxes or get a larger return from the federal government probably has the highest ROI and will by definition help only the poorest among our citizens. it's better than spending money to keep pools open that very few people were using anyways. 

observist topcommenter

 @TheCredibleHulk The "new" style pools in Preston Hollow and the Park Cities are filled with champagne.  Once you've swum in bubbly, you just can't go back to those old, bad product, chlorinated water pools... it just doesn't have the same tickle.

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