Summer oasis: Cherokee Aquatic Center thrives in its second year
by Jessicah Peters
August 16, 2014 12:10 AM | 3337 views | 3 3 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
People enjoy the Oasis Pool at the Cherokee County Aquatic Center on Friday. In its second year of operation, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center continues to add value to the recreational options for residents. <br>Staff/C.B. Schmelter
People enjoy the Oasis Pool at the Cherokee County Aquatic Center on Friday. In its second year of operation, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center continues to add value to the recreational options for residents.
Staff/C.B. Schmelter
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In its second year of operation, the Cherokee County Aquatic Center continues to add value to the recreational options for residents.

Since it opened in May 2013, 264,000 people have visited the center home to a 50-meter competition pool, an indoor 25-yard recreation pool and an outdoor leisure pool with a water playground, two water slides and beach entry, along with pavilions and concessions.

Recreation Director Bryan Reynolds said from October to July, the pool has had about 173,000 visits.

Since the aquatic center opened last year, it has generated more than $1.47 million, with expenses totaling $1.42 million.

So far, in fiscal 2014 the aquatic center has brought in $826,478 but spent $844,937. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

“The revenue policy for the aquatic center was never one of making a profit. Rather, it is intended to provide aquatic recreation opportunities to our residents while covering the operating costs, which we are doing and will continue to do,” Reynolds said.

Commissioner Harry Johnston said the center has filled a critical need in the county for competitive swim practice and meets.

“I’m proud to have such a first-class facility in our county. It’s been tremendously successful, with usage fees fully covering the cost of operations and maintenance,” Johnston said. “Except for the voter-approved construction cost, it’s not costing taxpayers anything. I’m so glad we didn’t listen to the small group who argued the county shouldn’t provide facilities like that.”

The Board of Commissioners voted unanimously in late 2011 to move forward with the project, which cost the county $16 million, paid for out of the voter-approved $90 million parks bond passed in 2008.

This summer, the center hosted the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association District 5 swim meet, family fun nights each month and other various swim meets, as well as a safety week in June. The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce Business Expo was also hosted at the aquatic center.

The center is now shifting gears and operating on its fall schedule.

Reynolds said the Oasis and outdoor pool will continue to be offered until the Cherokee County School District’s fall break.

Because of the indoor facility, aerobic classes, swim lessons and aqua therapy will still be offered through the winter months.

“High school and home school swim team practices and meets will be held in the competition pool throughout the fall and winter. We will also have special activities on Sundays and dive-in movies each month,” Reynolds said. “We are also planning some water aerobics marathons.”

Comments
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Math Wiz
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August 16, 2014
I may not be a wiz at math but I see a loss for the fiscal year with 2 months left to go and school in full swing. No pool operates at a profit so this is how it will be.

We needed this facility in our county. No doubt about that. I am glad it was built. But it will drain on the operating side of the ledger for as long as it is open as the year two numbers show.

Value, yes. Budget deficit, yes.

anonymous
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August 16, 2014
How can you claim the aquatic center has a budget deficit when the records clearly show that it is not only breaking even, but it is making a profit or producing a positive cash flow for taxpayers.
Math Wiz 2
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August 20, 2014
Because 844,000 (expenses) is greater than 826,000(revenues). Simple math Anon.
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