The iconic swimming pool at Lively Park, a cherished landmark for generations of Irving residents, is scheduled to undergo demolition starting the last week of July, with completion expected in mid-August. The removal of the beloved inground pool, which has served the community since its construction in 1959, is part of Irving's "Let's Play Irving Elevating Aquatics & Recreation" plan, aimed at revitalizing recreational facilities and catering to the needs of the city's youth.
The demolition project will pave the way for a new amenity targeted specifically at Irving's younger population. The City of Irving is calling on the input of local teens to actively participate in shaping the future plans for Lively Park's redevelopment. Interested teens are encouraged to send their contact information to PlayIrving@CityofIrving.org, signaling an opportunity to make their voices heard and contribute to the creation of a vibrant and youth-oriented community space.
While the vision for the park's transformation is met with enthusiasm by some, others have expressed mixed emotions over the impending demolition. The pool holds a special place in the hearts of many residents who grew up cherishing the public space and the cherished memories associated with it. Nostalgia and sentimental value have sparked a sense of attachment to the pool, making it challenging for some to embrace the upcoming change.
The issue of diminishing public pools is not unique to Irving, as a recent CNN article titled "Why America Stopped Building Public Pools" highlights the nationwide problem. Factors such as lifeguard shortages, underfunded public recreation departments, and budget constraints have put immense strain on local pools. Parks and recreation agencies often find themselves facing tough decisions during periods of financial austerity, with limited resources hampering their ability to maintain and staff pools adequately.
Kevin Roth, vice president of research, evaluation, and technology at the National Recreation and Park Association, stresses the budgetary challenges faced by such projects, asserting that they are not a recent phenomenon and are unlikely to dissipate in the foreseeable future. Roth acknowledges that cities have struggled to attract lifeguards, as summer job options for high school and college students have expanded, leading them to seek alternatives to lifeguard positions.
Despite these challenges, the City of Irving remains committed to its "Let's Play Irving" plan and is optimistic about the positive impact the new amenity will have on the community, particularly its youth. By encouraging active participation from local teens, the city aims to create a space that aligns with the desires and needs of its younger residents.
City officials reassure the community that the decision was made after careful consideration, taking into account the changing recreational landscape and the need to cater to the evolving interests of Irving's youth. While saying goodbye to a treasured landmark may be difficult, the hope is that the new amenity will usher in a chapter of excitement, fun, and community bonding for the residents of Irving.
As the demolition progresses, safety fencing will be erected around the site to ensure the well-being of visitors and workers during the construction phase.