Originally built in the early 1970s alongside the construction of the neighborhood, the Memorial Northwest Swim and Racquet Club was built as a private country club, featuring an Olympic-size swimming pool and 10 lighted tennis courts.
Greg Schindler, president of the Memorial Northwest Homeowners Association, and Ryan Aduddell, an area director on the MNWHOA board and one of the Pool Committee chairmen, said that in the early 2000s, the private country club financial model was no longer sustainable. As the club was facing bankruptcy, the MNWHOA voted to acquire the property and pay off its debts in 2005.
“A few years later, it became apparent that much of the facilities were neglected and gradually approaching the end of life,” Schindler and Aduddell said. “Several volunteer committees were formed to develop a long-range plan for the 10 acres of property.”
Schindler and Aduddell said a volunteer committee of homeowners was created to develop a comprehensive plan to visualize the upgrades, propose funding mechanisms and assemble a team. The homeowners then voted to replace the Memorial Northwest community center in 2013; in 2018, they voted to fund the recreational upgrades, to be unveiled Sept. 21.
The $4.3 million investment funded a complete replacement of the 50-year old pool, energy-saving upgrades to tennis court lighting and an expansion of the playground. The project was designed and built by Progressive Commercial Aquatics; construction began in November 2018.
The new recreation center features a 25-yard, eight-lane competition pool; an aquatic play unit; a three-turn slide, a lily pad walk and a splash pad.
“The Olympic-size pool could only handle five lanes,” Schindler and Aduddell said. “This made swim meets an all-day event for most families. Providing eight lanes will greatly improve our family experience, both for competition and exercise.”
The new pool also features zero-entry for swimmers of all ages to enjoy and a heater to allow for year-round activities.
Schindler and Aduddell said they are already seeing the benefits of investing in their community.
“Because of our efforts, we are already getting reports of families that decided to stay in our neighborhood and just remodel their current home,” they said. “And because of this project, people in our neighborhood are starting to feel more pride and we are seeing more and more homeowners investing to enhance their own properties as well.”
Schindler and Aduddell said the completely volunteer-driven project should inspire other Greater Houston area neighborhoods to lead similar restoration projects.
“We have seen the decline of communities within the Houston area,” Schindler and Aduddell said. ”Hopefully, this project will help other communities who are concerned about decline and help remove the uncertainty, or fear, of making financial investments and engage the power of your community."