ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Albuquerque’s city swimming pools are coming off of a record year and to get everyone coming back, the city says it will continue investing. The city is in the middle of making good on a big public pool master plan which calls for building more pools and fixing up the old ones.
Pools have a huge history in Albuquerque that’s nearly 90 years old.
“Highland Park pool and it was built in 1926,” said Brandon Gibson, Aquatics Division manager for the city of Albuquerque.
Today, 14 pools and water parks dot neighborhoods all over and all of those spots have never been more popular.
“It really was our best year ever,” said Gibson.
Over the past year, a record number of people have paid to get soaked.
“We had over a half a million customers,” said Gibson. That number is growing as well, according to Gibson. “That’s up 30-percent over the last five years,” said Gibson.
To keep up, the city says it is continuing to invest in pools. One of their top priorities is alleviating pressure soon on the city’s most popular pool, the West Mesa Aquatic Center near Coors and Interstate 40.
“We just built new tower slides at Sierra Vista Pool to try to ease up some of the traffic from West Mesa,” said Gibson.
Gibson says the Eisenhower Pool near Eubank and Juan Tabo is also set to get new water slides soon. In the next year, it should also put in new mechanical equipment in Valley Pool near 12th and Candelaria. The Sunport Pool off Gibson will also get the same upgrades and more.
“We’re going to do some building modifications as well,” said Gibson.
In the long term, the hopes are even bigger. Los Altos Pool in the northeast is one place the city has its eyes on. The pool is the second most used in Albuquerque, but it’s also about 60 years old. The city is now working on designing a total rebuild of the Los Altos Pool and the surrounding park.
However, the biggest plan is for a new pool at North Domingo Baca Park near Paseo and Wyoming.
“I think the next two to four years we’ll have the plans done and have a better idea of what we need to allocate to get that facility constructed,” said Gibson.
Albuquerque’s outdoor pools just closed for the season last week, however, the five covered indoor pools stay open year round.
The city says it will also focus work over the next few years on wading pools and upgrading water cleaning technology to use ultra-violet light and less chlorine.
Part of what may be helping get people to the pool is the price. The city hasn’t raised prices since 1998 and says there are no plans to change that anytime soon.