City data, experts: League City residents want to spend more time poolside amid COVID-19

Galveston County has a high concentration of residential pool owners in a relatively small area, Pool Scouts President Michael Wagner said. (Courtesy Water Champs Swim School)
Galveston County has a high concentration of residential pool owners in a relatively small area, Pool Scouts President Michael Wagner said. (Courtesy Water Champs Swim School)

Galveston County has a high concentration of residential pool owners in a relatively small area, Pool Scouts President Michael Wagner said. (Courtesy Water Champs Swim School)

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps Bay Area residents closer to home, pool builders are zeroing in on League City as a growth market amid rising pool permit requests.

More residential permits were issued in the first eight months of 2020 than in all of 2018, according to data from the city of League City. The pool-building rate has increased steadily since 2017; 228 permits were issued that year, with 293 issued the following year and 317 issued in 2019. Nearly 300 permits have been issued in 2020 as of the end of August, per city data.

Galveston County in general has a high concentration of residential pool owners in a relatively small area, said Michael Wagner, president of Pool Scouts. The Virginia Beach-based pool cleaning and maintenance franchise has identified more than 3,400 target homes in the 77573 ZIP code, Wagner said, where it aims to provide services. A target home is considered a single-family household with an annual income above $75,000 and an in-ground pool.

“There's a lot of good pockets of excellence in the market,” he said. “We’re really fired up to have a great opportunity in that market.”

The Houston area is attractive for residential pool builders particularly because the market can be year-round, he added, which is becoming increasingly prevalent with COVID-19.



“There’s a lot of people staying home, and a pool is a safe haven, so people are excited about having something to do,” he said.

The company, which has a franchise in Sugar Land and one serving Kingwood and The Woodlands, is eyeing the Galveston County area as a growth market given how many people are moving there, Wagner said. In light of COVID-19, technicians are sanitizing frequently touched items with every pool cleaning, and the business does as many services as possible without face-to-face interaction including construction, he added.

The increasing demand for pool cleanings and installations resulted in a backlog of construction, but Wagner said the company expects to see local families extending their pool seasons with the school year beginning remotely for thousands of students. Pool Scouts’ weekly cleaning service is becoming increasingly popular as families spend more time poolside, he said.

“They want their time back ... and the fact that they’re using [the pool] more than ever is a plus for us,” Wagner said.

By Colleen Ferguson

Reporter, Bay Area

A native central New Yorker, Colleen worked as an editorial intern with the Cy-Fair and Lake Houston | Humble | Kingwood editions of Community Impact Newspaper before joining the Bay Area team in 2020. She covers public education, higher education, business and development news in southeast Houston. Colleen graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University and the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she worked for the university's independent student newspaper The Daily Orange. Her degrees are in journalism and Spanish language and culture. When not chasing a story, Colleen can be found petting cats and dogs, listening to podcasts, swimming or watching true crime documentaries.