New aquatic center now open
It’s been seven years in the making, and it is finally here ... Broken Bow’s new aquatic center is now open, and ready for business. Those involved are excited. “I just love it,” said swimming pool manager Jenna Smith. “It is more user friendly for our younger crowd. At one end the pool starts at zero depth, the old pool started at 3 feet." City Manager Tony Tolstedt echoes the praises, emphasizing that there is something for everyone, all ages. Located just north of where the previous pool was located, the play features include a water slide, diving boards, water walk, dump bucket, in ground spray features, a child’s slide, basketball hoop, and zero depth entry. “It’s fantastic. When I first took office, I didn’t realize how bad the old pool was,” said Mayor Cecil Burt. Constructed in 1976, the old pool served the community for 34 years, 14 years past its projected life expectancy. Ongoing structural issues were an overwhelming, and expensive challenge. Three years ago, the city council decided to move forward and took the question to the voters. A $3,250,000 bond was passed at the time. “The bond process seemed to be less about selling the project and more about illustrating the reasoning for the project,” said Tolstedt. “If the community desired to have a pool, the construction of a new pool was going to be necessary.” Timing challenges were ever present if the city wasn’t going to skip a year of swimming. The city worked closely with the engineers and contractors to keep the project on time and on budget. When asked who was the driving force behind the pool, Tolstedt responded, “While it is hard to give credit for the pool project to anyone or two people, the project was largely carried forward by Council President Scott Spanel and City Attorney Jason White. They were part of the original group who looked at the projected and noted a need for a new facility. “We have been fortunate to have support from the swim team, local community groups and ultimately the community as a whole. “With the new facility being a significant recreational draw for families and individuals, the expected influx into Broken Bow because of the facility is too expected to be significant,” said Tolstedt. “It’s a beautiful place, and I’m glad it’s here,” said Spanel.