The outdoor pool at Spellerberg Park closed last week; days later, city officials and the community celebrated the beginning of a new chapter.
It was a historic day for Spellerberg Park. The park's 1960's-era outdoor pool was hammered to dust to make room for a new indoor aquatics center.
"When you want something so much for so long, you should do it in a grander way. And so yeah, we did bring out some monster shovels today and again just to celebrate," Mayor Mike Huether said.
"It's a huge sense of accomplishment, to be able to have this ground breaking today. A lot of time and effort has gone into this over the years," Director of Parks and Recreation Don Kearney said.
In the fall of 2016, this first-of-its-kind facility will open to the public, debt free.
"I'm not sure many cities across the country would be able to say that they can do that on a $20 million project. So we're really proud of that, to be able to pay cash for it. And we're also working on the operating side too; to try to minimize the amount of taxpayer dollars that have to go towards maintaining the facility either," Kearney said.
Though there will be a lot of demolition in the next few months, the city is trying to make sure things, such as the sledding hill, stay intact. While there was some push-back from members of the neighborhood, Huether believes this will bring good things to the community.
"We are not always going to agree, but when it all comes down to the end, we move forward. We get things done. And then we all celebrate together. And when this opens in the fall of 2016, whether you voted yes or whether you voted no, you're going to be really proud of our new indoor aquatics facility," Huether said.
Demolition will take place through September of this year. After that, design work for the new indoor facility will continue through this fall.
In the spring of 2015, a contractor will begin working on the new facility. The grand opening should take place in the fall of 2016.