The moments leading up to this week’s long-anticipated water park opening in Pauls Valley were filled with a little anxious excitement as lifeguards and pool officials hurried to get in the right place.
The excitement even spilled over to a handful of parents and kids dressed in swim attire as they waited outside the new aquatic center’s gates located next to the local Reynolds Recreation Center.
One of those waiting for the park to open for the first time on Tuesday afternoon was Tanantha Wycoff of Maysville, who said her three young children were all excited about finally getting the chance to check out the pool, lazy river and other features.
“My kids have been asking when is it going to be open,” Wycoff said while corralling her kids in preparation for the park gates to open to the public.
“They’re pretty excited to get in there. My little girl wants to go play on the fish,” she about a kids’ slide at the pool.
The final few minutes before the park’s opening were especially busy for aquatics supervisor Billy Tomlinson as he got all his lifeguards in place to greet opening day visitors.
While getting the final little details wrapped up Tomlinson was asked by one of the lifeguards when to open the water park gates for the first time.
“At noon on the dot,” he said without hesitation.
He next expressed his own anticipation of getting the pool facility open, which features water slides, lap pool and an area for the youngest kiddos.
“It’s been crazy getting ready,” said Tomlinson as he busily prepared for the high noon opening.
“We’re just ready to get it open, to rock and roll.”
Once the park’s gates did finally open and the first swim guests were coming in, the moment represented something special for some of the people actively involved for many years in the planning for the outdoor pool center.
“It’s a great day for our history,” City Manager James Frizell said about Pauls Valley and the pool opening on July 30, 2013.
“It’s fantastic we can offer the community something like this. Just fantastic.”
It was a day of mixed feelings for Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Samford, who said at times it’s been a mad scramble to get to this point where the pool is finally open to the public.
Despite all the work Samford stresses the community is the one that deserves the credit when it approved the extension of a local penny sales tax back in 2010.
One quarter of that tax goes for recreation and has been instrumental in making the pool project a reality.
“This is a gift the community gave to itself because it passed the sales tax,” Samford said.
“That’s how all of this is happening.”
Opening day was also a good one for Brent Grimmett, who was accompanied by a granddaughter as he strolled around the shiny new facility.
“Hopefully this helps us be more of a destination for people,” Grimmett said.
“They have done a great job getting it ready,” he said about the pool.
Grimmett has been one of the individuals pushing for years to get the project done. He has served on a committee doing much of the planning for the water park.
With an opening late in the summer season, the pool facility will be open daily through Aug. 14 before going to weekend hours with the start of school.
In the first two days of operation the park has entertained over 500 guest.
Park hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m.
Fees for park visitors are $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for youth ages 4 to 14. Children 3 and under are free.
Check out a full photo gallery of the opening day here:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.599803556731498.1073741831.135005323211326&type=1