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Abilene Reporter-News (Texas)

 

The city of Abilene's new aquatics center is on pace, said Wayne Lisenbee, capital improvements program director, the facility set to open in June, if not earlier.

The project is somewhat at the mercy of the weather because of its outdoor nature, Lisenbee said.

"We're on schedule at this point and we're shooting for Memorial Day, but as soon as I tell someone 'sure,' we're going to get a big rain event," he said. "We're pushing for late May, but I'm not making any promises."

When completed, the new $6.6 million aquatics center will consist of a full renovation of Rose Park Pool, giving way to a modern water recreation facility.

Voters approved the center as part of a 2015 bond program that totaled $80.7 million, a package of improvements including streets, fire and police facilities, sidewalks, airport improvements, 'splash pads' throughout the community and more.

"The bond election approved $6 million, and we had to get some additional funding to add to that to finish off the project," Lisenbee said.

A leisure pool, a lazy river, a pair of water slides, a party pavilion, a covered patio, and a new bathhouse are the primary features, with the whole project designed to provide space for added features in the future.

"The leisure pool will have a beach entry, which (means) it just gradually slopes down into the pool," he said. "So it goes from zero depth to down I believe four, four and a half feet. And there's plenty of room for people to get in there and do aerobics or any kind of water exercise that they might want to do."

The beach entry area will be water features for small children and toddlers to play in, Lisenbee said.

The lazy river will sport a capacity of 250 people, who can either swim or tube. Slide structures will be about three stories tall, one a body slide, the other a tube slide, the latter entering the lazy river.

There will be a height requirement of 48 inches to use the slides, Lisenbee said.

A concession stand will be available. There is a possibility food trucks will be allowed to come inside and serve, Lisenbee said.

Admission prices for adults have not been solidified yet, he said, though a common suggestion is in the $6-7 range.

The aquatic center project has been "incredibly fun to work on," Lisenbee said.

"At the stage right now we have the pools in the ground, (they've) formed up and taken shape," he said. "They've started doing the tile and drain work. The buildings are up, and we should start roofing next week. And then, at the end of this month, you should start seeing our big slide structure going vertical."

The purpose of the aquatics facility is not to create a sprawling water park such as Hurricane Harbor, Lisenbee said.

"This is going to be a family aquatic center where families can come enjoy the water and have a good day, but it is not going to be Schlitterbahn, that is not the intent," he said, referring to the famous park in New Braunfels.

As part of the bond, the city opened two new splash pads last year at Scarborough and Stevenson Park. Two more are scheduled to open in 2018 at Sears Park on Ambler and Redbud Park on the city's south side.

The original pad will remain at Nelson Park, by the Abilene Zoo.

"We're going to have a lot of water options for people to take advantage of," Lisenbee said.

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March 16, 2017
 
 
 

 

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