In a moment the scene is set, from that familiar smell of chlorine and the flat slap of palms splashing in the water and bright blue of the water packed with giggly children. But it was not just another day at the Park City Aquatic Center, no.
The center was celebrating a grand reopening since its closing over the holidays, inviting families to the free event where they could use the brand-new features added to the facility. Including a kiddie slide, expansion to the child pool, fountains, ADA chair lifts and a 15-person hot tub, the center used RAP Tax funds provided by Summit County to upgrade its offerings.
"Hopefully these additions will be a part of something more to come down the road," said Todd Klarich, Aquatic Director. "We are always looking to improve."
Families were enjoying the festivities of the afternoon, children swimming through the water features, taking a turn down the clownfish waterslide. Toddlers grasping to the edge of the child pool where mothers helped keep them steadily afloat, and older children making a break between the pools, jumping as quickly from one body of water to the next and escaping the winter draft.
"We wanted to check out the grand opening," said Tori Trombley, a mother and guest at the center, "check out the changes."
"For eight years we've been bringing my daughter and son here for lessons, this is great. It makes it more exciting for them, something more than lessons."
Her son, soaking from just hopping out of the pool, came up to her asking if he could go over to the hot tub, a new feature he said he liked because of how the center could get particularly cold in the winter.
"When you go under the water, it sounds like a rainstorm," said 8-year-old Ella Trombley.
Another mother, Karla Grabitt who moved to Park City a little over a year ago said it was her first time ever visiting the center. She heard about the event in an advertisement and decided to bring her children to check it out.
"It's fabulous," she said. "We'll definitely come again. It's our first time, and we plan on coming back.
"My kids are having a blast."
The Park City Aquatic Center received roughly $190,000 in grant funding from the county, allowing the center to meet federally-required code for ADA compliances set to go into effect in March as well as expand its play feature offerings.
The three ADA chairs installed cost $15,000, Klarich estimated, and additional funding went toward other offerings. The hot tub was a long-awaited added piece to the renovations, one guests have been requesting since the center first opened in 1998.
In coming years, Park City Aquatic Center staff will continue to ask for grant money to help expand the center, which Kalrich described as frequently bursting at the seams. Plans have already been laid out, looking at adding another 50 meter lane pool to the center. Though still searching for funding, Kalrich added that he hopes to see upgrades come along soon.
According to a needs assessment report conducted by the county, upgrades to the aquatic center were often on the list.
"We offer a lot of educational programs in this space, from swimming lessons to aerobic classes to the school swim team," he said. "We're lucky to have the facility we do. There is not really an indoor pool in Park City that has the educational base we do as well as the other fun features we are offering."
"This center, the upgrades, would not be possible without the county or the RAP Committee, especially with budget crunches we've had over the past few years. I'm so glad of that support."