For years, the city of Canyon has been wondering what to do about their old pool.
“We’ve known the pool was an issue that would have to be faced for at least the last ten years if not longer,” Randy Criswell, Canyon City Manager, said. “Over the 19 years I’ve been at the City, the maintenance needs have increased a little every year and it has become more difficult to get the pool prepared for each upcoming season.”
However, they may have found a solution: replacing the pool with a miniature water park. Some people may wonder why they decided to build a water park instead of just installing a new pool. Mayor Quinn Alexander appointed a committee to study and make recommendations. So they went to various cities like Sunray, Dumas and Pampa and found that parks were becoming a trend.
“A water park is just one more of those amenities that people enjoy and want and it’s certainly the trend today to build a water park,” Criswell said. “Realistically, a water park facility has the possibility of serving a much greater population, in my opinion.”
Some Canyonities even confessed to Andrew Neighbors, City Pool Manager, that they were visiting Sunray’s facilities instead of staying closer to home. “And you think, ‘Wow, they’re leaving Canyon for Sunray, that’s kind of crazy,’” Neighbors said.
Last summer, the city surveyed pool-goers about a water park and 92% of respondents were in favor of it.
It will not be a generic park, because the City wants to go for a Western theme.
“I think a theme would really set us apart and it ties into the local culture,” Neighbors said.
“There’s a lot you can do with it,” Neighbors said. “You can have workers wearing cowboy hats, themed slides, a horse slide, a cow slide. I saw one that looked like a rattlesnake!”
Now, it won’t all be about aesthetics. The proposed park will have a six lane competitive pool, according to a report from The Canyon News. This would also make the park an option for swim meets, which would attract audiences and athletes alike.
Of course, if it is approved, the construction is going to take some money. According to both The Canyon and News Channel 10, the estimated cost is $5.2 million. KFDA notes that admission fees may offset the cost, though no one knows the potential rates yet.
“The City Commission sets the fees for Canyon, for everything, so I can’t predict that number,” Criswell said. “So we will just have to wait and see about admission fees.”
The pool currently charges $3 for adults and he expects the park admission will be a little more expensive.
As for the location, the City would like to keep the water park in an actual park. Connor Park, to be precise, which is the old pool’s home.
“Everyone we’ve talked to thinks Connor Park is a good location,” Neighbors said. “It’s in the heart of the city and there would be plenty of room for parking.”
The potential park, of course, will be open to the entire Canyon community.
Criswell thinks the park will draw in even more people than the current pool and maybe even people from the surrounding area.
“Little kids and the elderly, as well as those with physical problems, can enjoy a water park, as well as others of virtually all ages,” Criswell said. “I think a water park can service a much larger demographic than a big pool. Zero entry allows for the smallest children to play safely and as the attractions increase, the age range does as well.”
Neighbors is also optimistic that a park will bring in more people.
“We see about an average of 150 a day,” Neighbors said. “We could see about 500 – 1000 people come in because of the Water Park.”
Criswell said, in general, updating old facilities is part of a City’s responsibility to help its citizens have a better quality of life.
“Local government is the best form of government,” Criswell said. “ We provide things that make people’s lives both possible and enjoyable. Things like parks, libraries, athletic fields, golf courses and swimming facilities. All those little quality of life ‘fun’ things will make the city of Canyon a place where people want to live.”