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By Steve Pastis
Managing Editor 

Proposed Visalia Aquatics Complex Seeks Supporters

 

Last updated 8/31/2021 at 8:13pm | View PDF

Artist's conception of what an aquatics facility could look like in Visalia.

The City of Visalia may have an aquatics facility in the near future if a current proposal is able to clear enough hurdles.

"I'll probably be ready to make a presentation to the (Visalia City) Council in the next month or two," said Visalia City Council Member Greg Collins, who added that he is currently "touching base with potential donors."

Collins made a PowerPoint presentation to the Visalia Parks & Recreation Commission on June 8, when he announced that California Water Service was interested in securing the naming rights of the complex and was willing to donate $500,000 over 10 years, which would be used to reduce annual maintenance costs.

Collins also plans to submit a grant application to the Visalia Rotary Community Foundation.

"We're trying to find some other donors before we make a presentation to the council and before we go public," Collins said. "We're trying to make this a community effort to exhaust all opportunities for raising money.

"If the council says yes, then I will lay out opportunities for people to pick a lane," he said about plans to offer naming rights for each of the 20 racing lanes in the pool for $25,000, with the goal of raising $500,000. "We already have a couple of individuals who've indicated they would be interested."

Current plans for the aquatics facility include a large pool with the 25 swimming lanes, as well as a pool with shallow water that could accommodate small children.

"Seniors could take advantage of the pool to stay in shape," said Collins.

"I have a special place in my heart for aquatic parks," said Jeremy Rogers, who before becoming Visalia's community services director oversaw the creation and operation of a municipal water park in Independence, Missouri.

"Aquatic zumba is very popular with seniors, and I know how popular water aerobics are," he said.

Rogers would like to see an additional feature in the proposed facility, one that was popular among the seniors in Independence.

"I want it to have a 'lazy river,'" he said, describing it as a three-foot flowing creek powered by jets that circles around the perimeter of the facility. "You can do so much with it – ride a tube, have walking classes, run against the current."

Rogers, whose duties include overseeing the Visalia Senior Games, said that the facility could be the site of such senior games competitions as water polo and swimming – but with some limitations.

Seniors could take advantage of the aquatic facility to stay in shape.

"The proposal I saw is not for a full 50-meter pool," he said. "It's a 25-meter pool, and it doesn't have a high dive."

The facility would allow for running against the current and kayaking – if it has a lazy river, he added.

If the Visalia City Council approves it, the project could be "in the ground by (next) spring or early summer," according to Collins.

"I think we'll get it done," said Rogers. "I definitely think Visalia needs an aquatic park. Yes, they are expensive and no, they don't pay for themselves, but every community needs one."

Those interested in making a donation, buying naming rights to a lane, or just curious about what programs would be planned if the facility were constructed, are encouraged to call Greg Collins at (559) 734-8737.

 

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