Support for countywide aquatic center gaining steam
Some members of the public were given a sneak peak at designs for a new aquatic center a group is pushing to be built in Bay City.
Loy Sneary of Wellness Matagorda County, Inc. (WMC) showed a group of city, county and business leaders on March 2 the first peek at designs for an indoor/outoor aquatic center, also known as a natatorium at a monthly breakfast meeting called First Friday
When the Bay City Parks Dept. asked residents for a list of amenities they wanted to see brought to the area in its Master Plan prepared last year, an aquatic center was extremely high on the list. Residents who took the survey wanted more water amenities like water play parks (82 percent) and splash pads (65 percent). There was also a desire for more competitive and recreational swimming.
The Master Plan makes the City of Bay City eligible to receive grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for more than $750,000. According to TPWD’s website, communities with populations under 500,000 are eligible to receive matching funds up to $750,000 for indoor recreation facilities, such as an indoor swimming facility or water park.
No location for the center has been decided but Sneary believes an ideal place would be on land near the Matagorda Regional Hospital and Bay City High School, though he stressed that is just one of many locations being considered.
“This is destined to be an aquatic center for the entire county. While we envision student athletes from around the area to take advantage of it, some of the features in it would be ideal for aqua-therapy and training law enforcement dive teams,” Sneary said by phone.
Some of the features revealed in the drawing include an outdoor splash pad, three water slides and even a small “lazy river” although nothing on the scale seen at large water parks such Schlitterbahn.
Sneary said the WMC is forming campaign teams to help drum up support for the aquatic center and communicate with the media and public about fundraising efforts.
The WMC met with a developer that has built similar facilities across the country and the estimated cost of the park could be between $15 and $17 million. Once the funding was secured, Sneary said it would take less than a year to complete.
The WMC traveled to about a half dozen area water parks in Victoria, El Campo, and Ft. Bend County over the last six months to learn about the design, costs, usage and community involvement that would be needed to make the vision to reality.
The WMC learned that Matagorda County residents are traveling to all of the water parks the group toured. One manager told the group that his facility had end of school parties for students from four Matagorda County schools last May.
The other aquatic centers the group visited said their facilities were used 6 or 7 days a week and are open for beginning swimming lessons, club swim, parties, recreational swimming, school athletes, masters swimming and water park activities.
Source: The Bay City Tribune