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July 23, 2013

Vigo officials offer alternative plan

Water park run by county proposed

TERRE HAUTE — County government officials on Monday presented a possible alternative plan to the Vigo County School Board related to a proposed swimming pool facility.

Bill Thomas, county council president, proposed a county-built, county-run natatorium and water park, which could be used by the Vigo County School Corp. and the public. It also could have a positive impact on economic development, he said.  

He gave an outline of the proposal and hopes to meet with school officials to discuss details. “It’s a living and breathing project,” Thomas said earlier in the day. “As we get ideas on how to do this, things could change somewhat.”

He believes it addresses two concerns the public has: It would be open to the public, and it would not be built with property tax dollars.

The facility could be used by VCSC students and its swim teams; it could potentially draw swimming meets and competitions; and it could draw visitors to the water park, he said.

“It could bring in different organizations for different meets on the natatorium side,” he said. “I really feel this could have a nice economic impact on the county.”

Hospitals could potentially use it as well. Use of the pool would be scheduled to facilitate different groups, Thomas said.

Speaking at Monday night’s school board meeting, Thomas said funding would come from economic development funds, not property taxes.

Under the county’s proposal, the indoor facility would have a 65-meter competition pool and diving well, an instructional pool that could be used by community members for lap swimming, recreation, lessons and a therapy pool. It would also seat approximately 2,000 spectators and 900 athletes.

“Through progressive programming, our facility could be open to the community as well as the schools,” Thomas said.

The outdoor water park would be modeled after other community parks, Thomas said. It would include water slides, a lap pool, lazy river and splash area, he said.

The location for the proposed county facility has yet to be determined, Thomas told the school board.

“The county understands there is a timeline necessary to meet the needs of the school corporation,” Thomas concluded. “We believe we can meet that timeline as well as the needs of the community.”

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