This drawing represents the three aquatic center options.
WOOD RIVER — The Wood River Aquatic Center’s condition has been a hot topic for Wood River residents and City Council members for a number of years. With an aging pool requiring more repairs, it’s been determined that a change is needed for the popular attraction.
“We’ve talked about the possibility of a new pool for a long time,” Wood River Park and Recreation Director Jason Woody said. “The current pool has outlived its predicted lifespan by more than 10 years. We’ve had to continuously make large repairs the past several years and it’s getting to a point where decisions will have to be made.”
Concerns with the pool include infrastructure, the bathhouse, mechanical systems, the pool shell, perimeter grating, the slides and tower and declining attendance over the last several years. The current Aquatic Center is 16,000 square feet with two slides, a tot pool and a diving well.
Councilman-Hunsaker and Associates was contracted by the Park and Recreation Department to perform a feasibility study and prepare a proposal presented to city council leaders at Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Three options were given, along with a recommendation.
The options presented were based on concepts implemented at Splash City in Collinsville, the Aquatic Zoo in Mount Vernon, Ill., and the Salem Family Aquatic Center in Salem, Ill. — each providing elements that would best suit the residents of Wood River and surrounding municipalities who would patronize the facility.
“There are several community concerns to consider if the pool were to simply be removed,” Councilman-Hunsaker representative George Deines said.
Along with a new aquatic facility, all three proposals include a gymnasium that could be used for recreation leagues throughout the year.
Men’s, women’s and children’s leagues for volleyball and basketball could go all year and the gym also would provide additional rental space for residents to enjoy.The three options for the new aquatic center will include:
- Option 1: A 6,366-square-foot leisure pool, zero beach entry with children’s play structure, a current channel, two body slides with a catch pool, a 700-square-foot tot pool, a diving board and a gymnasium for an estimated $6.9 million.
- Option 2: A 12,523-square-foot leisure pool, an eight-lane lap pool, zero beach entry with children’s play structure, a current channel, two body slides with a catch pool, a diving board, a climbing wall, 894-square-foot tot pool and a gymnasium for an estimated $7.9 million.
- Option 3: 19,344-square-foot leisure pool, an eight-lane lap pool, zero beach entry with children’s play structure, two body slides with a catch pool, a bowl slide with separate catch pool, drop slide into competition pool, one to three diving boards and a gymnasium for an estimated $9.9 million.
Each option includes additional shade structures throughout the park. Admission rates would continue to hover in the $7 to $8 price range with season passes still available.
With any new attraction, attendance is expected to spike as residents will find they can have access to a family-friendly water park at a reduced cost without having to leave town.“I believe that it’s important for Wood River to have a community pool for its residents and neighboring towns,” council member Scott Miner said. “Wood River has always been known for its pool and providing a great facility for both residents and non-residents. We will have to take some time and look over the information presented tonight and of course answer the financial questions to see where the funding would come from. I personally need answers to those questions before considering an option. I will say I’m leaning toward Option 2 at this time.”
Any Wood River residents interested in reviewing the data presented to the City Council can contact the Wood River Park and Recreation Department by visiting in person at 633 N. Wood River Ave. during regular business hours from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday or calling (618) 251-3130. If Wood River residents have questions concerning the proposal for a new Aquatic Center, they are encouraged to attend a City Council meeting on the first and third Monday of each month.
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