Cherokee aquatic center emerging, amphitheater planned

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Four months after groundbreaking, the Bacon Aquatic Center and Gillette Park are "showing good progress," according to John Cook, along with Dr. Bob Martin, co-chairs the fund raising committee.

"We're on time or a little bit ahead of schedule," said Cook. "Grundman Hicks (general contractor) is doing a fantastic job, Schoon Construction has been doing the digging work and the dirt work is nearly complete. "

The playground wall is complete and the playground equipment will be purchased and installed at a later date. All the retaining walls will be done this fall except for one. The main tank of the pool should also be done this fall, according to Cook.

The bathhouse is starting to take shape. Also the concession stand walls are starting to go up. "After all the dirt work is complete and all the structures are up, we can start moving back the top soil we have in people's yards," added Cook. "The neighborhood's been great. It's a win-win situation. Once all the top soil is moved, grass will be planted in the homeowners' yards and they will have a plush yard overlooking the park," said Cook.

"The Great Lawn is going to be spectacular. The Amphitheatre is as large as a symphony. It's going to be perfect for shows, art fairs and car shows", said Cook. "The Amphitheatre is being wired with enough power to be comparable to the Spencer Fair, and the centennial shelter should be able to host most any event."

The aquatic center will include portable touch pads that keep a swimmer's time and laps will be connected to a scoreboard so audience members can watch competition from the bleachers. A viewing deck for handicapped patrons will be on top of the pump house with the entrance being on the east side of the park and giving a great view of the action," explained Cook.

Personnel and price decisions will be made over the winter.

The fund drive has reached its $3.6 million goal. Additional funds will go toward things like park benches, playground equipment, and trail developments.

"The community has given so much already and we know they want to finish it right," Cook said, and $1,000 donor bricks are being sold for a donor wall.

"This project has been a unique experience of a community coming together," beamed Cook.

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