New aquatic complex with lazy river to start construction this summer - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

New aquatic complex with lazy river to start construction this summer

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Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 1:30 pm

Residents of Mesa who live by the titular high school can expect construction of the city’s newest swimming complex to kick off later this year.

Located at the corner of Harris Drive and Southern Avenue, the city’s newest aquatics complex is scheduled to begin construction this summer and is expected to take approximately a year to complete.

What that means to residents who live in the area by Mesa High School — the city will build it at the southwest corner of the school’s parking lot — is a leisure pool, a lap pool with 10 lanes, dive tank, bathhouses, classrooms, shade structures, and even a lazy river for an area that has a dearth of swimming options.

“We don’t have a pool in this area, so this is an underserved area in terms of aquatics,” City Manager Chris Brady said.

Brady expects it to be a huge amenity for the city’s residents, one that could host one of the largest aquatics programs in the state. Marc Heirshberg, Mesa director of Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities, said it will also provide a solid complement to the nine pools that currently populate the city, chief among them the Skyline Aquatics Center.

Skyline has become a destination of sorts not just for casual swimmers looking to cool off during the summer months, but for higher-caliber athletes as well.

That comes during the spring with the annual Arena Grand Prix event organized by USA Swimming. It’s part of a series that draws in some of the best swimmers in the country and beyond; a few notables who competed in 2013’s event include Olympians Ryan Lochte, Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin, and the list should expand during this year’s event scheduled for April 24-26.

The Grand Prix event is one reason why Heirshberg said the city’s swimming presence looms large in the desert lands.

“I think Mesa has a history and reputation of being the aquatics Mecca of the Southwest,” he said.

Mesa’s newest complex might not host such high-profile events, but it will have its own little features to make it stand out from the other options. One example Heirshberg mentioned are potential splash pads, although the big feature for this one is the lazy river.

Lazy rivers are popular amenities he said are capable of attracting different users than the other one, makes for a convenient place for kids to take their first dips into the pool, and to host other aquatic programs.

The project is one of several the city will build using $70 million in bond funds approved in 2012; a few other projects the funding will go toward include the Riverview Park renovation, pedestrian and bike path projects, and an enhancement of the Greenfield Park fishing lake.

The fact that Mesa residents have voted to approve the funding for such projects impresses Heirshberg, who said it’s an indication the people who call Mesa home have a desire to continue to reinvigorate their community.

“It speaks volumes; people recognized the importance of it, recognized the need for it,” he said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-5647 or emungenast@evtrib.com.

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