Work set to begin on city swim center
By MIKE EDDLEMAN
The dry spell is nearly over as community leaders broke ground last week on the Liberty Hill Swim Center, now expected to be open for swim season 2020.
A long-awaited amenity for the community, the project was first approved by the City Council in March 2017, but was delayed over a grant the City was seeking through Texas Parks and Wildlife to help defray the projected $1.2 million price tag.
Now with a $500,000 grant in hand, work is set to begin on the pool, parking lot and trail that will eventually span the outer edge of City Park on CR 200.
“Everyone I have talked to has wanted one for a while,” said Mayor Rick Hall at the June 18 groundbreaking. “So we’re going to try to build a swimming pool here shortly.”
The design is for a 4,350 square-foot pool that includes a zero-entry, a “tanning shelf”, and two lap lanes on the opposite end. The original design was for a slightly larger pool, but no swim lanes, but community members lobbied the Parks & Recreation Board and Council members once the final design was presented to make adjustments that would include swim lanes for use by the high school swim team.
“We wanted to be good neighbors and partners and we wanted to address their needs, too,” said Parks Board Chair Mary Lyn Jones at the groundbreaking. “So we had Halff redesign and put two laps lanes in.”
Plans also include a splash pad, which is roughly 2,000 square feet at an estimated budget of about $150,000.
The pool house is roughly 1,300 square feet and is an open-air facility with restrooms, pavilion area and changing rooms. There would be no heating or air conditioning. The plan is to have restrooms and a potential vending area accessible year round for park users, even when the pool is closed.
Plans also include fencing, shade structures, landscaping and grass areas surrounding the pool deck.
“I’m beyond excited for this,” Jones said. “We have been waiting and waiting.”
Another group that has been waiting and waiting, and played an inspirational role in moving the project forward, was Girl Scout Troop 277. Jones invited the Troop to participate in the groundbreaking.
“This group came to our Parks Board meeting, and from time to time we have people come to our meetings with requests,” she said. “This group came to our meeting with a request, but they also researched, they had documentation and they had surveys. We were very impressed with their work. Their surveys said there are people in this community that want a pool. Their surveys coincided with some of the surveys the Parks Board had done years before, so it just reinforced our knowledge that we knew that the citizens of Liberty Hill wanted a pool.”
An agreement was finally reached in May between the City and Williamson County on drainage improvements to City Park on CR 200, which directly impact future parking for the Swim Center and youth sports activities.
The City has been seeking County assistance in having improvements made just south of the youth football field and north of the site of the planned swim center where the County’s road project will impact drainage through the park. The County has agreed to cover up to $43,000 of the cost of improvements the City hopes will include box culverts for drainage and a surface that will allow cars and pedestrians to move easily from open parking area on the north end of the park adjacent to the football field to the parking lot planned at the swim center. Liberty Hill is responsible for all costs for design and construction, with reimbursement from the County.
The plan is for a parking lot with approximately 60 spaces, along with an improved entrance on County Road 200.