The pool and surrounding area are fenced in and kept clean, and there is adequate seating as well as shade trees. It’s perfect for picnicking, too, since visitors can bring their own food and drinks.
The best part about the swimming pool at the White Oak Conference Center, at least to those who have discovered it, is that hardly anyone is ever there.
“I just like it because it’s never busy,” said Oak Forest resident Kasey Duncan, who swam there Sunday with her husband and two young children.
That could soon change, because in its eighth summer of operation, word is catching on about the private pool that sells memberships to the public. It is operated by the Near Northwest Management District, which promotes infrastructure improvements and development in the area. The organization also makes its office in the building next to the pool, which was the clubhouse for the former Inwood Forest Golf and Country Club at 7603 Antoine Dr.
Jan Whittington, facilities director for the Near Northwest Management District, said pool membership is up about 50 percent this summer with an influx of swimmers from Oak Forest and Garden Oaks. She said the membership includes about 30 or 40 families in total.
“Our membership is growing,” said Wayne Norden, president of the Near Northwest Management District. “It’s not where we’d like it to be, but it is growing.”
Many of the existing members don’t want too much company. Oak Forest residents Luis and Natalie Diaz, who joined this summer and sat in the baby pool Sunday afternoon with their 1-year-old son, Jack, said the pool at T.C. Jester Park is too crowded for their taste.
The White Oak Conference Center, where the pool is open from 1-8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, is nearly as close. And the Diaz family considers the cost to be a good value.
Memberships are $195 for a family of four or $95 for individuals, which affords unlimited visits from Memorial Day through Labor Day. There always are two lifeguards on duty.
“This is perfect for us. It’s reasonable, very reasonable,” Luis Diaz said. “The hours work for us, it’s not really super crowded, and it’s right up the road from where we live.”
Norden, whose organization leases the White Oak Conference Center from the City of Houston, said its goal is to make enough money to cover pool maintenance costs. Whittington said the five-lane, 25-yard pool with an 11-foot deep end, which was built in the 1960s and re-plastered two years ago, costs about $2,000 per month to maintain.
She said it’s worth it, though, because the once-dormant facility is again teeming with life. The old golf course behind the pool also is back in action, having been converted to a disc golf course with the cart path often being used as a cycling and jogging trail.
The pool is the main attraction. Whittington called it a “hidden treasure,” but it might not be for much longer.
“It’s very gratifying to see all the families come out here and let the kids have some old-fashioned summer time,” Whittington said. “We always tell them, ‘Come up, ride your bikes, make memories.’ And they do.”