City, business leaders celebrate opening of new aquatic center

The new Plainview Aquatic Center has received an average of about 350 visitors each day since it officially opened for business Friday.

On Monday, Plainview Chamber of Commerce members and city leaders gathered at the facility to celebrate and to cut ribbon. Among those in attendance was former mayor, Wendell Dunlap, whose administration led the planning phase and construction of the project.

The project has “been a long time coming,” said current Plainview Mayor Charles Starnes.

The aquatic center is one of six bond projects approved by Plainview voters in 2018. But it was highlighted as an item of interest several years before during a comprehensive plan survey for the city.

The city’s newest amenity experienced several delays to get to this day.

Bulldozers, loaders and other machinery have been a constant sight at M.B. Hood Park (16th and Ennis Streets) since late 2018. Plainview voters granted a $3.8 million bond for the project in May of that year and work began a few months later to demolish the old pool that had been there since about the 1950s to make way for the aquatic center.

The facility was originally anticipated to open by the summer of 2020. With the combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, construction delays and inspection setbacks, the opening was pushed back. The setbacks made the official opening just a little bit sweeter.

Temperatures were a bit cool Monday morning but they reached the stayed in the high 90s all weekend making for perfect swimming conditions and drawing families out to the pool.

Jeri Strange, CEO of the Plainview YMCA, said the turnout for the first few days was great.

“We were very pleased with the crowd,” she said.

It’s so far proved to have a family-friendly vibe, she noted, adding that she’s “thrilled” for the YMCA to take part in the new venture with the city as the YMCA will staff and manage the aquatic center.  

The aquatic center includes a splash pad, water slide, a lap pool, basketball goal, rock climbing wall and cabanas.