Vernon's new summertime relief is open for business. Representatives from the Vernon Chamber of Commerce joined the Mayor, City Manager and other officials to cut the ribbon and officially open the Aquatic Center at Orbison Park Saturday.
The $1.5 million center is finally open, seven years after the city's old community pool closed. One woman visiting the pool for the first time with her granddaughter said, "I think it's great. I think it's something Vernon has needed for a long time.
City Commissioner Russell Brownlow promised voters he would open a new pool during his last campaign. He said, "It's been almost four years to the day since we started this project and I'm glad to see it done."
Much of the money for the project came out of Vernon's own budget. City manager Mitch Grant says they have a plan to stay afloat and at the very least, break even. Grant said, "It's 3 dollars to get in. It's 200 dollars for a 2 hour period from 7-9 to rent the pool at night."
Grant says they also expect to see tax revenue go up in response to people coming from nearby communities to use the center. In addition to bringing in money, the aquatics center also employs around 16 people.
Night time party spots, are already filling up. "I would hurry if you're gonna rent it. We're about half rented up for the season."
Mayor Bearden said the new pool is a part of Vernon's plan to develop the city. "This is sort of a cornerstone of an ongoing park plan to develop all the parks in town and of course this is the biggest project," he said. "We're trying to be a community that can offer a good quality of life for people that want to move to town want to escape the rat race and enjoy small town life but still have some nice amenities. This is part of that plan."