By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Opening date for swim center still unclear
The Cumming Aquatic Center’s outdoor leisure pool includes a lazy river, children’s splash play area and a 156-foot water slide. - photo by Jim Dean

Other action

Also Tuesday night, Cumming's mayor and council:

* Granted a rezoning request for a .61-acre tract at 102 Kelly Mill Road. The land will go from central business district to restricted industrial.

* Approved a request from Georgia's insurance commissioner to raise the rates for business licenses, with the increase going to the state.

* Signed a proclamation recognizing the month of May as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, awareness month.

* Recognized Cumming’s newest reserve police officer, Jonathan Clapp, for completing a field training program.

* Honored Cumming police officer Nathan Van Buren, who was recently recognized by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police for his military service in Afghanistan. Van Buren served on a special operations team.

-- Crystal Ledford

The opening of the Cumming Aquatic Center is getting closer, though an exact date still hasn’t been set.

Greg Little, the city’s director of recreation and parks, presented a proposal Tuesday night for opening the center off Pilgrim Mill Road in stages.

“We are finally getting to the point of being closer to our goal of setting a proposal for opening in the month of June,” Little told the mayor and city council during their meeting.

In the end, however, officials decided to have Little gather more information before making any definite decisions.

Little had proposed that the center’s outdoor leisure pool, which includes a lazy river, children’s splash play area and a 156-foot water slide, open around June 10. The hours would be limited and only cash payments would be accepted for the first week.

He said the facility’s two indoor pools – a 50-meter competition pool and smaller physical therapy pool – would then open on a staggered schedule in the weeks to follow.

Little said he and staff determined that staggering the openings would be needed in order to train staff, while allowing some use of the facility as early as possible.

He explained that the outdoor area is considered a “water park” rather than a swimming pool due to its extra features. Under state law, lifeguards working in water parks are required to have additional training in the facilities in which they'll work.

Little said he and his staff would likely have enough lifeguards trained to operate the facility on a limited basis for a week beginning June 10.

However, they would need the pool in the morning and evening hours to train the other lifeguards who would work in that area.

Staff would also need more time to learn the facility’s registration software, which includes the ability to accept credit cards and sell passes for longer than one day.

Mayor H. Ford Gravitt didn’t like the idea of limited hours and cash only during the facility’s first week.

“With opening at 11 a.m. and closing at 5 p.m., the one thing I see is if people work and don’t get off until 4 or 5 that would prohibit a lot of people from coming,” he said.

“And being cash only would prohibit a certain number of people because there’s a lot of people who don’t carry cash anymore.”

Little said another challenge with setting a hard opening date is the fact that Winter Construction, which is building the site, is still finishing a few tasks.

He was not sure when construction will be complete, allowing the facility to be turned over to the city, though he said it would be ready “around the first part of June.”

Little estimated an opening that would give ample time for staff training could occur between June 20-27.

“This is a $15 million project and we had intentions to open it with a big bang,” Gravitt said. “Maybe we should delay the opening since we did want a big bang.”

Ultimately, council voted to postpone setting an opening date in order to give Little time to meet with Winter officials to finalize a finish date.

“We were looking at the opportunity to put people in the [outdoor] pool but with some limitations as soon as possible,” Little said. “But if ya’ll want us to wait, we have no issue with that.”

Council may hold a called meeting in the next couple weeks to set an opening date.