‘Audacious’ Olympic-size pool would be Sacramento’s first

A rendering of an Olympic-sized pool and aquatic complex planned for North Natomas Regional Park.
A rendering of an Olympic-sized pool and aquatic complex planned for North Natomas Regional Park.

Sacramento may soon break ground on the city’s only Olympic-size pool, a big-splash project in North Natomas with an initial price tag of $24 million.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Angelique Ashby presented plans for a three-pool aquatic complex in her district’s North Natomas Regional Park. The project also calls for a 10,666-square-foot community center that can hold between 200 and 400 people.

Ashby said she envisions the pool not only as a local draw, but also a destination for swim competitions and even events like the Senior Games. She said it could be an “audacious” and “placemaking” addition that would benefit all of Sacramento.

Currently, swim meets head instead to nearby cities such as Folsom, Davis and Roseville when they require a pool with a 50-meter length rather than the more commonplace 25-meter facility.

Sacramento Fire Department Capt. Jaymes Butler, a competitive swimmer, spoke in support of the project at the meeting. He told the council that as the economic center of the region, Sacramento should have “the biggest and baddest stuff.”

Ashby said she hopes the city can break ground this summer, and the project would take about two years to build. The pool would be built where a dog park currently sits, and that park would move to a spot with better drainage.

Later phases could include add-ons to the community center and a diving structure.

Sacramento plans to use up to $23 million in development fees to pay for the project. The Natomas Unified School District will also contribute up to $4.5 million from a 2014 bond measure. More money could come from naming rights if a corporate backer can be found.

Natomas Unified would benefit because nearby Inderkum High School would use the facility for physical education classes and water sports. Los Rios Community College also has a nearby campus, and Ashby said she’s talked to them about a potential partnership.

Along with the 50-meter competition pool, the complex will have a recreational pool and a kids’ pool with play structures and slides. The complex would also include cabanas that can be rented by the day for luxury lounging.

That’s the concept, anyway. Final plans must still clear environmental and planning hurdles at the city.

Debra Cummings, a community activist in Del Paso Heights, discusses the significance of Grant Union High School opening its first swimming pool in eight years and what it means to the community.

Anita Chabria: 916-321-1049, @chabriaa

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