MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — One section of Walter Williams Park in Milledgeville used to be the home of Baldwin County's only public swimming pool.
Now, it's been filled in with dirt, and grass has grown on top of it. If you never saw the pool with your own two eyes, you'd never know there used to be one.
Baldwin County manager Carlos Tobar says county commissioners are working to change that.
"We're trying to see what facility would generate enough revenue to meet the operational and maintenance costs, and, obviously, we'd love to have a facility that is good for all ages, from infants to senior citizens," he says.
County leaders are not just looking to build a pool, but an entire aquatic center, similar to Southern Pines Water Park in Dublin.
"It has two very large slides -- one is an enclosed tube, one is open, it has a splash pad, it has a lazy river, so these are all attractive features," says Tobar.
It's attractive, but the plan requires much more room. Tobar says they've narrowed down their options to two sites -- Walter Williams Park, where the pool used to be, or the site of the now-demolished Old State Prison. It was knocked down last summer.
Tobar says there are a number of benefits to having the aquatic center on the prison.
"A few of the positive attributes of Old State Prison site is that it's close to all that parking that's shared with all the other fields. It does sit a little higher, so in terms of the sewage fall, it should work well," he says, "You're right across from the gym, so if you get tired of playing in the water, you can play some basketball or badminton, or something else, and you're also close to the walking trail."
Milledgeville native Jason Arnold says he's less concerned about which site is chosen, he just wants a public pool back.
"The pool was an epicenter for everyone to gather, kids could play, adults could watch their kids, so it was a family-oriented place, and we've missed that for the last 15 years," says Arnold.
Arnold is also the chairman for the Baldwin County Aquatics Committee. He says he'll be working closely with county commissioners to make sure the aquatic center stays a priority.
Tobar says building this center will cost more than the $750,000 that was originally anticipated.
The hope is to have it built and opened by summer 2020.
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