Pool pact — Together, water parks will improve community's appeal


It's one of the region's more interesting and valuable attractions.

It's one of the region's more interesting and valuable attractions.

Garden City's Big Pool, which recently opened for the season, has attracted crowds for generations.

You don't have to be a lifelong resident of Garden City or southwest Kansas to know about the extraordinary local venue. And, anyone who sees the pool for the first time has to be impressed by how it lives up to its name, as the massive pool holds a whopping 2.2 million gallons of water.

Last year's addition of a Spray Park made the facility all the more entertaining and refreshing.

Beyond those and other current attributes, the Big Pool also has been the site for such notable happenings as annual dips in the pool for zoo elephants. Crowds would show up to watch the elephants enjoy a swim after the pool closed for the season.

While that activity would be part of the Big Pool's colorful past, a constant is in the facility's appeal as a place to cool down during hot summer days — and in its promise to continue as a top attraction for the region, even as another water facility materializes.

Soon, local residents and visitors will be treated to a new attraction in a sizable indoor water park, part of a $25 million project from local businessman Amro Samy that also will include a hotel and the Old Chicago Pizza and Taproom restaurant.

The indoor water park will be able to offer recreational water activities year-round, something not available from the seasonal Big Pool.

That said, it's encouraging to know a Garden City Recreation Commission that runs the Big Pool could play a significant part in the new water park venture. An alliance between the business and city's rec commission will indeed help generate more interest in both water recreation opportunities — a win-win for all involved in expanding opportunities for youth and adults.

At the same time, it still will be easy to appreciate each venue's unique assets — and, their strengths in serving as popular draws for a community improving local quality of life and growing as a regional destination.

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