Greenwood officials looking for sponsors for new aquatics center

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Greenwood city leaders are on the search for area businesses who are interested in putting their names on the soon-to-be-built aquatics center at Freedom Park.

This week, the city is putting out the call for construction bids for the new facility. Mayor Myers and other city officials want the winning bid to be below $10 million. They hope to hire a contractor by this May so the facitility is ready to open by next May.

But while the financing for the project, including TIF dollars, has been established, recent estimates show the 2.5 acre pool facility will not bring in enough money to sustain itself each year.

Operating costs for the Freedom Park Aquatics Center are expected to be around $600,000 a year. Recent studies show ticket sales and concessions will probably bring in around $385,000. That leaves an annual deficit of roughly $215,000 per year.

Mayor Myers is reaching out to area businesses to fill that gap.

“And get a public private partnership going with them,” Myers said. “Get some revenue coming in from them, and make this a revenue neutral aquatics facility for our city.”

Greenwood Parks Director Rob Taggeart points out that the old city pool would regularly operate with a deficit. The new goal is to have the new pool facility break even.

The result could be company names on individual features like water slides, “funbrellas” and the concession stand. Taggeart said the design of the facility would yield multiple opportunities for companies to find space for their name.

But he also said the concept would need to be approached tastefully, without the entire water park looking like an advertisement.

Jake Merrill, who was playing a Wednesday pickup basketball game at Freedom Park, agreed.

“It shouldn’t make it look like a giant advertisement,” Merrill said. “But it should be something that we can see that this company supported it and they paid their money and we get a slide because of that.”

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