It's hard to overstate how completely the city of Dallas has neglected its aquatics system. It hasn't built a new pool since 1978, when it built an indoor facility near Bachman Lake. The number of pools operated by the city dropped from 107 in 1983 to 17 today. Those that survived the budget ax of 2008 saw their hours cut. Those that didn't were cannibalized for parts. Meanwhile, attendance plummeted.
|City of Dallas|
|On the left, an example of the proposed community family aquatic center. On the right, a regional model.|
The handful of splash pads the city has built and the opening of Bahama Beach have done little to shore up a crippled system, particularly since the water park lost its private partner five years ago.
But now, the city is considering a plan to revitalize the system. This month, the Park Board approved a 60-page master plan that calls for a dramatic re-imagining of aquatics in Dallas. Gone are the outdated neighborhood pools that once dotted the city. In their place will be a handful of large, multipurpose "family aquatic centers" to "stir the community into more pool use."
And what exactly is a family aquatic center? There are a couple of models proposed in the master plan, but generally speaking they offer a lot more bells and whistles in addition to the standard rectangular pool. Things like water slides, zero-depth entry, play features for kids and a lazy river. They're basically miniature water parks.More »