Aurora, NE -
Aurora’s mayor says that twelve years ago citizens came to the city with a suggestion: build a new pool. The project built up steam in the last two years, and on Friday, finally opened with new slides, water features, and WiFi.
As the clock ticked toward noon, the opening hour, dozens of kids were waiting to get in. One of the big draws: two water slides.
City leaders say the slides are only one aspect of the pool. They designed it and chose features – like a splash area for smaller kids and a sun shade area for parents – so there’s something for every age group and swimming level.
“Those of us who like to be in up to our knees and no more, I can be there and still supervise a grandchild if I so desire,” says Mayor Marlin Seaman.
The $3.5 million facility replaces the old Streeter Park Pool which was built and dedicated Memorial Day weekend in 1969.
“It’s 2014 and [beyond to] 2040, this pool is built for these twenty years, so it shouldn’t be a problem with entertaining future generations as well,” says Seaman.
The city did not use bonds, instead paying for the project with leftover sales tax and excess dollars in funds like water and sanitation.
“We have essentially bought down the reserves in those funds and we’ll have to pay those back, but at least we’re not having to pay interest on this facility today,” says Aurora City Administrator Marlan Ferguson.
Ferguson says pools are not meant to be money-makers, but Aurora’s features a concession stand for the first time ever, and with memberships, there should be some revenue. The city doesn’t have attendance number expectations, but believes the “new” factor will attract big crowds.
“I think the first year will really tell us where we’re at, then we’ll kind of go from there,” says Ferguson.
Seaman hopes the Aquatic Facility keeps locals close to home, and brings area community members into town.
“We have an economic attraction that hopefully will bring people to our community that will also shop and/or recreate in the other places in town as well,” he says.
And the mayor has given the facility his seal of approval, making sure to test the water slides several times himself.
“It’s fast. It’s a thrill,” says Seaman.
The city wants to keep people not only playing, but working locally, and with life guards, highway crossing guards, and adult supervisors, the Aurora Aquatic Center creates more than 30 summer jobs.
For information about hours and admission, call the Aurora Aquatic Center directly at 402.694.2992.