A member of the group of businessmen promoting construction of a new aquatic center admitted Monday evening citizens are somewhat “shell shocked” with the estimated $20 million price tag to construct the facility even though most recognize the need.
Jake Aulick made a presentation to the Gering council Monday night similar to the one fellow businessman Dave Schaff delivered to the Scottsbluff council earlier this month. Aulick stressed the twin cities need a new aquatic center with a a competition pool for the Seacat swimming team because the Indoor Splash Arena and even the Scottsbluff YMCA pool are in his words “on life support.”
Aulick says if something isn’t done soon, there won’t be a community Aquatic Center or a pool for kids to compete in at the higher levels.
Aulick says they can get grants to do the dirt work on the proposed donated site south of Panhandle Coop, but a Foundation will likely need to be formed to manage money that might come in from larger sources of revenue .
Aulick says gaining funding from Scottsbluff’s proposed L.B. 357 measure is a small piece of the funding puzzle but critically important initially. Aulick did not ask for money from the Gering council Monday night, but also said the effort needs “everyone on board” and both cities will “need to fund the project in some shape or form” to get it started.
The project’s vision also includes space for an updated senior center and a proposed event center with 5,000 permanent seats. The estimated cost for the event center is around $25 million.