Oak Ridge North moves forward on pool reopening, request for fiber internet proposals

The Oak Ridge North City Council met for a specially called meeting May 21. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Oak Ridge North City Council met for a specially called meeting May 21. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Oak Ridge North City Council met for a specially called meeting May 21. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)

Oak Ridge North’s public pool is set to reopen for the summer season in early June, after the City Council discussed final details of the pool’s operations at a specially called meeting May 21.

City Manager Heather Neeley said the pool facility’s capacity limit, as determined by Public Works Director Joe Sherwin, is currently set at 21 swimmers and 75 people on the pool deck at any given time. That limit could change throughout the year based on any new guidelines from Gov. Greg Abbott or other public health officials regarding public gatherings and pool facilities.

“In two weekends, things could be at a completely different place as far as the governor’s orders, as far as cases in Montgomery County. And any number of things could change that to where it’s either a no-brainer that you open up all the way, or something happens and it needs to be shut down,” Neeley said.

Officials had initially considered implementing a reservation system for pool access this year but decided to manage capacity through on-site counts by staff members. The pool’s weekend-only operation could be expanded throughout the year based on popularity and capacity limits as the season progresses as well.

“Initially, I think you’re going to probably have a lot of people show up. But I think as things begin to open up, people are going to start to move,” Mayor Paul Bond said. “Things are going to change, and we’ll just have to evaluate.”

The city will offer discount pool passes May 22 for both residents and nonresidents ahead of the pool’s opening during the first weekend in June. Discount passes will also be available for residents only during that first weekend of operation to begin the season.

Council also approved publishing a request for proposal, or RFP, for a possible new fiber-optic internet service throughout the city May 21, weeks after a representative of FastFiber had presented information on that service to council members. Officials said the RFP is based on a similar request Shenandoah had used when considering a new fiber internet service within its city limits in order to maintain control over the infrastructure needed for fiber service.

“They wanted to own the conduits that the fiber went through and have some control over future providers should the current provider go under for some reason,” Council Member Alex Jones said. “You have some control over pricing and who takes over the lines, et cetera, et cetera, so that you don’t have it going to whoever the highest bidder is and then suddenly every resident ... is hit with a, ‘Well, if you want to keep your service, the bill’s just gone up double.’”

The RFP was approved in a 5-0 vote and will remain open until June 11.
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


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