City Manager Bruce Johnson said recently that the city is moving forward with plans to build a small outdoor family aquatic center at the Grove Sports Complex.

The center, slated to be built just west of Jim Beauchamp Baseball Field, has a current price tag of approximately $3,356,000.00, according to an estimate by Kimley Horn and Association, Inc.

“This is a project that will enhance the quality of life in Grove,” Johnson said.

The center would include an outdoor 5,467 square foot leisure pool, a 700 square foot tot pool with a  slide, an 8-12” deep toddler pool, and shade structures, he said.

At this time the city has allocated $1 million to put towards the project.

“Only a portion of the total cost will be paid by the city,” Johnson said.

He explained that the rest of the money will likely come from an 80/20 percent grant from the Oklahoma Land and Conservation Fund.

“If we receive the grant, we could end up with around $5 million to do the project, but since the construction on the pool won’t begin till the 2009-2010 fiscal year, we will probably need $5 million,” Johnson said.

He noted that with inflation, construction costs will rise considerably between now and then.

In the immediate future, the city has plans to expand the splash pad directly behind Rotary Park.

“We have made application to the Rural Economic Action Plan for $50,000 for this project,” Johnson said.

He said the expansion is needed because the splash pad is so popular.

“That water play structure is one of the most utilized pieces of equipment during the summertime,” he said.

In addition, Johnson said the city is a submitting a letter to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism requesting that improvements be made to the existing city pool at Honey Creek State Park.

“We want to maintain our level of aquatic services till we get a new swimming pool,” Johnson said.

He explained that the reason the city wants to improve its aquatic services is twofold.

“We want to attract and maintain young couples with children in our community – they are our next generation of business people and community leaders,” Johnson said.

“We also want to give the large amount of visitors who come to this area between May and September a reason to get off the lake and spend time in Grove, shopping and eating, and spending their money at local businesses,” he added.