On Oct. 11, dozens of Oxford residents gathered at a public information session about the city’s new aquatic center. They asked questions about access and transportation to the $4.35 million facility at Oxford Community Park, as well as about summer camps, hours and prices.
The aquatic center is scheduled to open in May 2019 and will about double the size of the current pool, located closer to town near Tri Community Center on Fairfield Road.
“It would appear that it might be a little more dangerous for youngsters on their feet to get out to the park,” said Jeff McDonnell, who said he has lived in Oxford for more than 30 years.
Others pointed out that new features at the pool – including a lazy river and slides – might lure more people.
“There is more with this pool now that is attractive to bring you there, to hang out and spend the day,” said Steve Pasquale, head coach for the Oxford Swimming and Diving Team and a chemistry teacher at Talawanda High.
The aquatic center offers the local team its own space to practice, leaving recreational swimming to a separate pool.
The Thursday session at the Oxford Community Arts Center was hosted by Oxford Parks and Recreation, and led by its director, Casey Wooddell, and other city leaders.
Discussions to bring a new pool to Oxford began in 2006, and the design process has gone through several transformations. In 2006, the original cost estimate was $4.4 million but has since then been reduced to $4.35 million.
Residents asked questions about how summer camps hosted at TRI Community Center would access a pool at the new location. Wooddell told the group that the city will move the summer camp to Oxford Community Park, or provide transportation there for summer camp kids when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Other questions included the hours and price for admission, but those still have yet to be determined, Wooddell said.
The aquatic center is for the most part funded by a general obligation bond, which is a bond backed by the credit and taxing power of the city. Wooddell said the bond is expected to be paid off in 2019.
Some parts of the pool however, are being paid for through donations from the community. This includes things such as a scoreboard, family slide and party deck.
Jessica Green of Enjoy Oxford, the city’s visitor’s bureau, suggested that the Oxford Area Trails system, now under construction, could alleviate transportation to the new aquatic center at 6801 Fairfield Road.
That’s the best solution for those who live on the other side of town, Green said.