North Port Aquatic Center

North Port Aquatic Center

The much anticipated North Port Aquatic Center is set to open on Monday, October 21, at 4 pm. Big Jim Self Storage is proud to be a part of the North Port community and welcomes this fabulous new facility.. Our Self Storage is located on Toledo Blade Blvd at 1001 Executive Ave. The following article from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune describes the new Aquatic Center.

NORTH PORT — The first thing you notice while driving toward the North Port Aquatic Center at Butler Park is the 70-foot-tall tower that serves as the start for two separate flume rides.

The first, an open, green and white slide that starts two flights up, has a curly Q route into one destination pool.

The second, a closed flume that starts two flights higher, begins with a dead drop then curls around before the finish.

“The slides take only about 10 to 13 seconds to go down, that is true,” North Port Mayor Chris Hanks said Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the $12 million aquatic complex.

The big one being a floor drop that will shoot you into the bowl with a significant amount of speed and G-force,” he added. “I tested it, you can trust me on this one.”

Residents who attended Wednesday could only tour the facility, which includes a 25-yard stretch competition swimming pool suitable for most high school and college swim meets, a lazy river leisure pool, a kids activity pool, the two slides, a bath house with locker rooms, and concessions. More than a million gallons of water are used at the facility.

The complex opens to the general public on Monday at 4 p.m.

Synethia Rosa, who home-schools her children LeJeaun, Aavielle, Shamari and Samyra, brought her family to tour the facility.

“It’s pretty cool,” said LeJeaun, who later added that his favorite part was the lazy river, where one could ride on transparent inner tubes that are carried by a current around the leisurely course.

Rosa admitted to being a bit disappointed that the pool doesn’t open until 4 p.m., she’d planned on bringing the children back Tuesday but wanted to beat the after-school crowd.

The Rosas never frequented the city’s old pool at Dallas White Park — which was built by General Development Corp. in 1954 and closed in mid-July.

“We used to go out to Port Charlotte,” Rosa said. “I didn’t know there was a pool over there.”

Opening of the aquatic complex is one of several celebrations North Port officials had planned for the 60th anniversary of the city.

The hope had been for the facility, which is located 6205 W. Price Blvd., adjacent to the Morgan Family Community Center at Butler Park, would be open this summer. But rain delays pushed back the opening date.

Because of that, it will open under a modified schedule.

From Monday through Nov. 3, the entire facility will be open from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays and noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Starting Nov. 4, it will move to the planned schedule, with the competition pool open daily except Wednesdays through March.

The recreational amenities, including the children’s splash area and the slides, are scheduled to be closed through March, then reopen on weekends from April 1 through Memorial Day; daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Admission fees vary, with children 23 months and younger free; city residents up to age 12 are $6 a day; with adults $8 a day. Non-resident admission is $4 more.

Annual passes, family passes, and passes for lap swimming only are available at a variety of discounts.

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The pool will also serve as the home base for the North Port High School swim team.

Coach Paul Magliacane brought most of his 24 swimmers to the opening, but admitted that it’s doubtful the team will get to use it before Districts begin on Nov. 2.

“It looks gorgeous,” he said. “We just go here, so we’re checking it out.”

Former city commissioner Joan Morgan, who championed the new pool at Butler Park in 1978, noted that the opening is a long time coming.

“In 1978 we had a bid approved for a new pool,” Morgan said. “It’s now here.”

That original bid was stymied by a change in commission; then the recession tabled another iteration of the project.

Hanks, during his ceremonial remarks noted how Butler Park and the Morgan Center are the perfect location for the aquatic facility.

“This site has evolved into a vibrant meeting place, teen-after school hangout and community hub and now it’s going to be a regional destination,” Hanks said.

“North Port is making a positive impact on the lives of the residents we serve.”

The North Port City Commission recommitted to building the complex at Butler Park in January 2017 and approved a construction contract with Recreational Design & Construction, Inc. of Fort Lauderdale in mid-June 2018, and broke ground on the new facility on June 30, 2018.

The construction delay, the fact that the city could lose as much as $600,000 a year until memberships pick up and frustration over the the city commission’s decision to increase the millage rate this year prompted several residents to question the value of the pool — which was built primarily using one-cent sales tax money.

City Manager Peter Lear noted that North Port has grown to more than 70,000 residents and 10,000 schoolchildren.

“There are many families who call North Port home,” Lear said. “Because of this, we know the importance of providing recreational amenities that encourage social interaction and physical activity for all ages.

“This is yet another outstanding achievement for a city that prides itself that you can achieve anything.”