Just in time for the dog days of summer, residents of Cherokee County have a new place to keep cool. The community’s first public aquatic center opened with fanfare three weeks ago, capping five years of planning and construction.
“When we did a needs survey, a pool was high on the list from Cherokee residents,” said Kim Baker, who oversees the aquatic center. “This facility is now the only public recreation aquatic center in the county. There isn’t another place where people can swim without a membership.”
The facility, at the junction of Interstate 575 and Sixes Road in Holly Springs, welcomes swimmers and splashers who want to swim a few laps, attend a birthday party, take a water aerobics class, or just enjoy an afternoon by the pool. A daily pass is $5 for seniors and children younger than 14 and $6 for adults. Three-month and annual passes are also available.
“We also offer swim lessons for children and adults, and we host a master swim program for adults 18 and older,” said Baker.
About 500 Cherokee residents and county officials showed up ready to swim and another 250 came to gawk at the recent grand opening. The most popular spot: The outdoor pool with two slides, an aquatic playground, a whirlpool and current channels that create a “lazy river” effect. Close by are two outdoor pavilions, locker rooms and a concession stand that serves hot dogs, nachos, chicken sandwiches, bratwurst and beverages.
Indoors, the center boasts two “wet” classrooms, designed to accommodate people in bathing suits and flip flops who might be attending a program or party. Nearby are two recreational pools, one with four lanes and warmer water for swimming lessons, water aerobics and therapy programs. A 50-meter competition pool features 10 lanes below a spectator area that can seat 700. Baker expects those viewing stands to be filled on a regular basis.
“We already have more than 18 swim meets and two water polo events on the books for this year,” she said. “We’re also hosting all the swim teams for Cherokee County school meets - which will be the first time that our team meets take place in Cherokee. Before, they had to go to Cobb or Cumming to find a pool. So we’re going to be busy with events.”
In addition to the school teams, the center is booking practice and competition times for year-round swim teams.
“We have just about rented out the entire facility, so it’s clear there was a need for this sort of competitive pool in this area,” said Baker. “Everyone is super excited that we finally have the pool open.”
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If you go
Cherokee County Aquatic Center
1200 Gresham Mill Parkway, Holly Springs
Information on prices and classes: www.crpa.net