Archive for Thursday, July 12, 2007

Splash time

July 12, 2007

Seventeen-year-old Chase West stopped at the edge of the diving board.

He bounced up and down to gain momentum. When he had enough energy, he jumped, flipped and plunged into the water.

Two-year-old Haley Barham frolics in the fountains Saturday in the
Eudora Aquatic Center's zero-depth entry area. The center opened
for the first time last weekend after wet weather caused several
construction delays. More pool photos can be found on page 8A.

Two-year-old Haley Barham frolics in the fountains Saturday in the Eudora Aquatic Center's zero-depth entry area. The center opened for the first time last weekend after wet weather caused several construction delays. More pool photos can be found on page 8A.

After spending much of the summer on the diving boards at the pool in De Soto, West decided to try the planks closer to home at the Eudora Aquatic Center, 1638 Elm St.

"I'm just glad it's open," he said.

The $1 million pool opened for the first time Saturday after wet weather caused several delays to the project.

"We don't have the 'wow' effect this year, but next year we'll have the 'wow' effect," Eudora Parks and Recreation director Tammy Hodges said.

Several construction details remained unfinished on the $1 million facility as swimmers filed through a makeshift entrance. The main entryway wasn't finished, sinks in the bathroom weren't fully installed and the concession stand wasn't completed. Despite the remaining work, by the end of the day more than 600 people took advantage of the free admission and passed through the gates.

"Looks like we're successful," Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. About an hour into the opening, lines had formed at the diving boards and at a new waterslide. Both adults and young children made use of water amenities at the zero-depth entry point. People cut through the water in a main six-lane swimming area and youngsters floated on foam toys down the lazy river.

"Everyone seems to like the lazy river," Beatty said.

The pool is part of a $3.8 million project, which also will include a recreation center tentatively scheduled to open in September. Eudora residents approved a $3.8 million bond issue to pay for the complex last August.

James Simpson came to the opening to see what was going on, he said. He said he lived in the area for 35 years and the new center impressed him.

"It's a big improvement over what we had before," he said.

Simpson said it appeared the complex would be well maintained.

"I'm anxious to see the rest of it finished," he said.

Saturday was also a day Tighe VanAnne and the rest of the city's lifeguards had been waiting for, he said. Until the opening, Hodges found odd jobs for the guards around the city.

Now that the lifeguards have hit the water they are "a lot less frustrated," VanAnne said.

Lifeguard Ben Miller, 16, noticed the variety of activities at the new pool.

"The kids have more fun," Miller said. "There's more here for them to do."

One-day fees for the pool are $2 for children under 13; $3 for adults; $1.50 for senior citizens ages 55 to 69; and free for senior citizens 70 and older.

Season pool passes and spots in swim classes are still available. For more information, call the parks and recreation department at 542-1725.

"The city is finally getting a pool it can be proud of," resident Gloria Foster said.

There will be a dedication ceremony at 1 p.m. July 21 with free admission, free hot dogs at 5 p.m. and prizes given away throughout the day.

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