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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Newest city jewel on track

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Looking over landscaping plans are Duane Mummert, Cherokee Parks Superintendent; Dan Johnson, Schoon Construction; Mike Bell, RDG & Associates; and Jim Warrender, Schoon Construction. Photo contributed.
Four months after groundbreaking, the Bacon Aquatic Center and Gillette Park are "showing good progress" according to John Cook, who 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."

Cook explains that there is a new drainage ditch and storm sewer that's installed all the way to about 15 feet from North 9th Street. 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 by this fall, according to Cook.

The work on the Bacon Aquatic Center is continuing on schedule. Photo by Mike Leckband
Cook also explains 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 Amphitheater is as large as a symphony. It's going to be perfect for shows, art fairs and car shows," said Cook. "The Amphitheater 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."

"Swimming events will be a boost to the community. Portable touch pads that keep a swimmer's time and laps will be connected to a scoreboard so audience members can watch 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.

The Grundman-Hicks Construction workers proceeded with the pouring of the floor of the mechanical building. Photo contributed.
"During the winter months there will be a pool committee formed to start hammering out some of the operational detail for next year, such as a director for the Aquatic Center. Setting prices for admission and family passes, which should remain in the two-digit price category. Food stand operations and personnel needed to run the Aquatic Center will all be decided then," said Cook.

"Right now we're just a little over our first goal of $3.6 million. Now, it's time to start our next goal. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done that was not part of the first budget, like trash cans, park benches, playground equipment, deciding if the trail is paved or crushed rock," added Cook.

"The community has given so much already and we know they want to finish it right. We're still going to keep the donor wall program going," Cook said.

Here are the latest plans for the Bacon Aquatic Center/Gillette Park Project
For the people who don't know about the donor wall, it will be located next to the concession plaza. It's a wall with all the donors names or the names of family members or a certain loved one - just about any name you would like to see set in a brick.

Bricks are still available. The price is $1,000 per brick. If you don't have $1,000, that's all right. There's a payment plan, according to Cook. You can pay all at once or set up a plan for $17 a month for the next five years.

If interested in purchasing a brick to go on the wall, you can pick up the form at City Hall, the Parks & Recreation Office, or at the Cook Law Office at 209 W. Willow St.

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

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