Optimism still running high for aquatic center in Aurora

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An Aurora aquatic center would improve the quality of life in the community, Indiana University graduate student Laura Mazur told Aurora Plan Commission recently.

The center would be available year round for all ages, and result in economic growth, said Mazur, a participant in the Indiana University Masters Graduate Program 2015 Capstone Project. Aurora’s pool and potential aquatic center were chosen for the Capstone Project study, which cost the city nothing.

Funding optimism
How to fund an aquatic center, which would cost as much as $4.9 million, was one topic.

“What if I told you over a 10-year period, the city could receive between $2.1 and $4.1 million for naming rights?” asked IU grad student Jeremy Booker.

Other funding possibilities include reserving 15 percent of the city’s riverboat gambling sharing revenue toward repaying a 20-year loan; working with Southeast Indiana Regional Plan Commission to seek funding; and applying for grants, including to the Duke Energy Foundation, Dearborn Community Foundation and Rising Sun Regional Foundation.

Meanwhile, the aquatic center, if built adjoining the Aurora Community Center as visualized, could bring in new revenue in swim competition fees, leases to high schools for swim practice in a competition-size facility, local physical therapy, swim lessons, and water aerobics, said Minzer.

Sponsorships also would be a possibility.

Regarding the existing city pool, the students’ report concludes Aurora should demolish the facility and build a replacement. The students cited the pool’s annual maintenance cost of about $32,000, and noted the pool is used for only nine weeks of the year.

In 2014, the pool raised $16,481 in total revenue: admissions and vending. If the pool were demolished, the site could be used for a skate park, said the students.

Should the city decide to build an aquatic center, green initiatives would make the center more efficient and save on maintenance costs in the future. Those initiatives could include a green roof, using recycled material for construction, and employing energy efficient lighting, heating and methods, said the report.

The students estimated annual operating costs at about $245,000, but recommended city council set a cost recovery goal for operating costs, setting admission rates accordingly. As designed, the pool would have a stainless steel liner, popular due to lower maintenance costs.

As envisioned by the students, the aquatic center would include a six-lane, 25-meter pool with a slide, a splash pool for toddlers, spa, vending facility, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and bleacher seating, said the report.

Hrezo Engineering, Greendale, worked with the students with pool design research, and created both a site analysis and building design at no cost for the project.
The students all plan careers in local government, said retiring IU professor Orville Powell, their advisor. Students working on the project include Alisha Corwin, Miles Lovato, Karen Hensley, Ryan Macks, Jeremy Booker, Laura Mazur and Tomi Pierce.