Bill would force city to re-open Forest North swimming pool

The city of Austin would be forced to re-open a popular swimming hole and training ground for a north Austin children's swim team under legislation filed by state Rep. Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park.

The Springwood Pool in the Forest North neighborhood, near RM 620 and Lake Creek Parkway, was home for 36 years to the North Austin Stingrays team, which currently has about 170 members.

HB 1235 would require municipalities with a population of more than 750,000 to open and operate an existing neighborhood pool at the petition of its residents, which was written specifically for the Springwood Pool issue.

"This only applies to pools that have been closed more than one year but less than three years," Dale said. "The purpose of this bill is to allow the residents of Forest North access to their cherished community pool."

The pool is now at the center of a lawsuit, with residents accusing the city of a bait-and-switch: In 1996, the Forest North/Springwood Cooperative Recreational Association sold the pool to the Springwood Municipal District for $100 with the contractual agreement that if it were ever annexed, the association could buy it back for $100.

When it was annexed in October 2011, however, the city refused to comply, saying the budget couldn't afford the $300,000 annual maintenance.

Dale, a former city councilman in Cedar Park, said the pool is a vital part of the community.

"I was sent to Austin by the voters of House District 136 in southwestern Williamson County to advocate on their behalf," he said. "It is important that we preserve the community camaraderie that the Forest North Pool and the North Austin Stingrays provides for my constituents."

The lawsuit is in the appeals process.

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