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Fort Worth updates plans to rebuild historic public pool - but larger size comes with larger price

Residents complained about a plan to significantly shrink the size of Forest Park Pool. A new proposal keeps the Olympic-size pool - but costs $3.5 million more.

FORT WORTH, Texas — If you grew up in Fort Worth, there’s a good chance you learned to swim at Forest Park Pool.

The original pool opened at the site southwest of downtown in 1922.

It was torn out and rebuilt in the 1960s.

The current pool is showing its age to the point it is now ”past its useful life."

Fort Worth city council member Elizabeth Beck also calls it "seasoned."

In 2021, the city proposed replacing the Olympic-size pool with a pool about half the size, while building a separate wading pool, spray structures, and a new bath house.

Residents hated the idea of a shrunken pool.

Credit: City of Fort Worth
The original Forest Park Pool plan was met with resistance from residents.

“The community was not happy about it, and we heard a lot of feedback,” Beck said.

That feedback led to a completely revamped proposal.

The large pool is now to be replaced with a pool the same size, offering eight 50-meter lanes.

A separate kids pool - now deeper, with spray features and a new bathhouse are also in the proposal.

But it comes with a cost.

The original plan was $7.5 million.

The new proposal is $11 million.

Credit: City of Fort Worth
An image from a power point presentation of the new plan to rebuild Forest Park Pool.

It would be funded by the city’s $560 million bond package that will go in front of voters in May.

“This particular project will be in the park proposition that’s just south of $125 million,” said Richard Zavala, Fort Worth Park & Recreation director.

“It’s one of 36 projects that we have in that proposition," he said.

Beck and Zavala were part of a team that presented the updated proposal to the public Thursday night.

Previous meetings about the pool had grown contentious.

But Beck started this meeting off by telling constituents, “We listened. We heard you.”

Credit: City of Fort Worth
A City of Fort Worth photo showing Forest Park Pool in its original state.

Nathan Losch, a former TCU swimmer, said he did feel heard and he said local kids will reap the benefits.

“I grew up in a small town with 40,000 people and we had two 50-meter pools,” he said.

Forest Park is Fort Worth’s only 50-meter public pool.

“It really develops a love for swimming if you have a good facility to do it at," Losch said. 

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