Alice city council members voted and approved the final contractual proceedings for the YMCA of the Coastal Bend, to take over and manage the Natatorium in Alice on Tuesday.

"This is their business and the YMCA has the management skills and expertise to be more efficient then us- honestly, this is what they do," said Alice City Manager Micheal Esparza.

The expense of the natatorium and lack of financial success has been a heated topic for years. The natatorium cost over $20 million complex when it was completed.

The multi-use water park was voted on and approved by city leaders back when the Eagle Ford Oil Industry was in its prime. Since that time, the oil industry locally has been in decline and the city could not support the expensive maintenance with little revenue.

The city eventually closed the complex in December 2019 due to the costly maintenance to operate it.

"Glad we, the city council, asked our city manager to continue to look for options. His hard work and efforts don’t go unnoticed. We unanimously approved and our city is excited to see the YMCA come to Alice and what they have to offer. One step forward in the right direction," said Sandra Bowen, Alice City Councilwoman.

On Tuesday, during the scheduled city council meeting, members voted and passed to move forward with the final contractual negotiations. Revisions supported by city council was clarification on the city’s specific funding and maintenance responsibilities.

The contract is still in final negotiations.

The YMCA’s new management and oversight at the Alice Natatorium could begin as soon as June 1.