Aquatic center closer to reopening to public

HARLINGEN — The second restoration of the pool at the Lon C. Hill Aquatic Center should be finished soon and the facility reopened to the public in time for the upcoming swimming season.

The project was budgeted for $217,000, and funded via community development block grants.

The pool, originally built in the 1950s, previously was renovated in the 1960s.

“New filters, new pump, brand new skimmers, brand new plumbing line, everything is brand new,” said Jeff Lyssy, superintendent of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. “We’ve really revitalized this pool to where it’ll be almost like a brand new structure.

“Of course we did some tile work, we did not re-plaster the pool, it stayed the same. However it did receive new tile around the pool … It looks brand new.”

Lyssy says the renovation will help keep the pool operational, and should cut down on maintenance requirements.

“When you don’t have pumps that work, it’s a big headache during the summer,” he told parks and recreation board members at their meeting this week.

The pool is open from June through August. Daily hours are 12:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. A daily fee of $1 is charged per swimmer.

A department official estimated that 3,000 to 4,000 swimmers use the pool each summer.

The park originally was named Fair Park prior to becoming Lon C. Hill Park in 1950. The park was expanded in 1983 when the city purchased an abandoned cotton oil mill complex on the east side of the park, which consisted of 16.44 acres.

The present park encompasses 73 acres and includes a playground, covered picnic shelters, barbecue pits, basketball and volleyballs courts and a hummingbird and butterfly garden.