Pine Bluff’s aquatic center, which opened in the summer of 2020, features an eight-lane competition pool, a therapeutic spa, a water slide and a children’s play zone.
Mayor Shirley Washington said that before building the center, she envisioned a place where residents could overcome their fear of swimming, learn life-saving skills, enjoy fun water activities and explore new ways to be physically active.
“We’re pleased to say that these visions are becoming a reality,” Washington said. “Residents are learning to swim, including children who have received free swim lessons. Patrons are participating in fun activities like Aqua Zumba and water aerobics that improve their overall health.”
And last year, Pine Bluff students won a state swimming championship, with some qualifying for the Junior Olympics.
“In terms of what this center has added, it has empowered our children,” Washington said. “It’s given people swimming skills that could save their lives, and it’s helping people to live healthier.”
Washington said they’ve learned a lot after going through the process and becoming operational.
“In the early stages, staff required extensive training in equipment maintenance and managing the pool chemicals. They are complex systems, and it took a little while for everyone to establish a strong footing,” Washington said. “Also, like with any construction project, there were some minor areas that needed adjusting. Nevertheless, our staff is now well-trained and those early challenges have been resolved.”
Visiting other centers around the state was a wise decision, Washington said.
“We suggest that Conway understands that there will be challenges and things to learn,” Washington said. “But at the end of the day, the value that residents will gain from the center will be worth it.”