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Proposed Indoor Aquatic Center Moves Forward After Vote

April 10, 2014, 5:00 PM by Hailey Higgins

Proposed Indoor Aquatic Center Moves Forward After Vote

It took more than a year to put together a comprehensive plan, and it will take a lot more work before plans become a reality.

Expansive pools, water slides and even a lazy river could be used year-round in Sioux Falls if a proposed indoor water complex becomes a reality.

"We certainly have a head start on this project," Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Director Don Kearney said. "We've talked about it for a long time and we are excited to finally be able to start doing it now."

Kearney said the defeat of an outdoor pool at Spellerberg Park brings the option of an indoor pool closer to construction.

The hope is to finalize the design this summer and begin construction in 2015.

However, one critical detail is still up for debate by the city council: location.

While Spellerberg is the recommended site, not all council members agree.

"Just for me personally, I feel like Spellerberg is just not the right place because it is not a city-wide destination," City Councilman Greg Jamison said. "The streets aren't designed to have all the whole city come there."

Jamison has wanted an indoor pool for years, but says there are still a lot of decisions to make concerning the proposed facility.

"I would like to see us have a larger indoor facility, not one that just fits some of the needs but one that supplies a lot of the needs that we all like to do inside and not just go swimming," Jamison said.

The price tag is just over $19 million. Mayor Mike Huether already budgeted more than $7 million toward an indoor pool as part of his capital improvement project. The rest would likely be funded through bonds.

As the indoor pool option could open sometime in 2016, Kearney remains optimistic it's the right call for the city.

"It gives people something to do in the winter time," Kearney said. "We've got great programming in the summer but we really are missing the mark in the indoor facilities so we are making great strides now."

Kearney will talk more about the proposed indoor pool Sunday on Inside KELOLAND.

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