UP City Council Amends Emergency Ordinance, OK’s Only Lap Swimming at Holmes Center

The University Park City Council Tuesday approved an amended ordinance to the city’s public health emergency declaration for the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Manager Robbie Corder said the amended ordinance extends the city’s disaster declaration and adopts Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent orders and any subsequent orders. 

“We feel that it marries up better with what is going on throughout the state of Texas,” Corder said. 

He said the question of removing the disaster declaration would come back before the council. 

The city council also approved moving forward with plans to open the Holmes Aquatic Center for lap swimming for an abbreviated pool season at the Holmes Aquatic Center that would begin July 1. The Holmes Aquatic Center is located at 3501 Lovers Lane within Curtis Park and is available to residents of University Park or the Highland Park ISD zone.

Jen Post, an aquatics supervisor with the city, said city staff considered options including recreational swim similar to last year’s general pool session, but only including the city’s large pool area, allowing lap swim only at $5 per swimmer, and the possibility of closing the pool for 2020. 

Post said the lap swim option allows for nine lanes within the pool with one swimmer per lane.

“A lap swim I do see would be feasible and, since it requires fewer number of staff, I do feel like it would be a shorter implementation period, too,” she said.

Post said state guidelines allow for 25% of the bather load in the facility, or about 80 guests, and the Centers for Disease Control recommends disinfecting high-touch areas, disinfecting equipment between each lifeguard, for managers and deck attendants to enforce 6 feet social distancing, for lifeguards to have a 6-foot barrier around their stands, for lifeguards to wear masks when they’re off their stands, and for guests to wear masks when they’re not in the water. 

Post said the capacity limit for the Holmes Aquatics Center is normally 400. 


Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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