On Tuesday, Mayor Craig Ford proposed building a new aquatic center at the West Meighan Sports Complex for residents to enjoy. The proposal to enter into a planning and design contract with Williams Architects will be voted on by the City Council next Tuesday.
“It’s important for our residents of all ages to have access to a pool at a low cost to learn and improve their swimming skills,” said Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford. “As a city located along the beautiful Coosa River and with Black Creek flowing over Noccalula Falls, water-based recreation is in our blood; making a state-of-the-art aquatic center happen for our community makes sense."
The West Meighan Sports Complex was chosen after a citywide assessment by architects and the city's GROW Gadsden comprehensive plan consultants. The city owns the site, and it offers ample space for future parking facilities, which is often a challenge with public pools.
“This is a prime location because of its ease of access to U.S. Highway 431 and local neighborhoods such as the Mill Village and others,” said Ford. “There are several schools, city facilities, the Megan Kelley Dream Center, a police precinct, and a paramedic fire station nearby."
“As we’ve seen in other cities, we believe this will spur additional commercial and other investment in the West Gadsden and Alabama City area,” Ford added. "In my opinion, this is only the beginning of what will become strategic revitalization of that corridor over the next several years."
Funding for the full project will come from a future bond issue. However, the purpose of the planning and design contract is to develop a master plan specifically for the aquatic center that will incorporate public input, an operational business plan, staffing, design, and more.
Once the planning and design process is complete, the city will announce details about the proposed aquatic center, construction timelines, and project financing. What is known is that the outdoor pool should feature a zero-entry ramp for ease of access, lanes for swimming laps, and at least one water slide.
“As I’ve said before about other investments the city has made in recent years, this will be another great place for families to make lifelong memories together,” Ford said. "I am excited about what the future holds for Gadsden. I can't wait to see families, senior citizens, students, and visitors enjoying our state-of-the-art aquatic center as soon as possible!"