More than two years after residents approved a tax increase to fund its construction, the newly renovated and expanded Bartlett Aquatic Center will open this weekend.
Bartlett Park District Executive Director Rita Fletcher said she is pleased the $6 million project is complete and ready to open to the general public at 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
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"It was the number one request on our community survey in 2007," she said. "The community wanted us to expand and improve it."
Voters in a referendum approved the park district's request to borrow $18 million in November 2010 to upgrade the 20-year-old center at 620 W. Stearns Road and buy Villa Olivia Country Club.
At the time, park district officials estimated that the move would cost the owner of a $250,000 home about $35 more a year in property taxes for about 20 years. The renovations were needed because the center was aging and couldn't keep up with Bartlett's growing population, officials said.
"Some people in our own community were going to other community's pools because they had more amenities than we had," Fletcher said.
Construction began at the end of 2011 and wrapped up this week. The original facility was built with the future expansions in mind, so additions such as more toilets and showers in the bathhouse didn't require complete teardowns, Fletcher said.
The new additions include a lazy river, tube slide, body slide, spray playground and a zip line. A sand volleyball court was removed to make room for the lazy river. Fletcher hopes residents will like the changes and attendance will go up.
"Now we're exciting again," she said, adding that there is now space for up to 1,500 guests compared to somewhere between 750 and 800 previously.
Village President Kevin Wallace said families he's talking with are excited to have the new facility, and he believes a bigger aquatic center is good for the community because it keeps kids active.
"It's quite a difference," he said. "There's several additional activities for patrons, and it looks a lot different than it did."
Fletcher said prices are increasing from last year, partly because now there will be more workers at the aquatic center.
"We've had to hire a lot more staff, which is great for the community," she said.
Daily admission rates for residents are $8 for children ages 3 to 17, $10 for adults and $8 for seniors ages 62 and older. Rates are $1 more for nonresidents. Children under the age of 3 get in free.