Officials hold aquatic center grand opening

ST. MARYS -Since the new Pleasants County Aquatic Center opened on June 1, it has already exceeded last year’s attendance and revenue figures.

Director Alan Farnsworth said one day last week the center had 477 customers in a day’s time.

“It’s the most I have seen at the pool in 25 years,” he said.

On Tuesday, more than 50 people gathered at the center on Cherry Street for the grand opening.

Two year ago officials began to consider refurbishing the old Pleasants County Pool, built in the late 1970s.

Pleasants County Commission President Jay Powell said the old structure had a concrete liner that over the last several years had continuous leaked, causing an increase in water usage, along with inadequate access for children in wheelchairs or individuals with disabilities.

“The new pool has a special, custom-built liner that is guaranteed not to leak and has a zero-degree entry,” Farnsworth said.

Powell said the idea was brought to officials by citizens who visited newer pool complexes in Marietta and Williamstown.

The new aquatic center features five large water slides, lilly pads with an overhanging net, a rock climbing wall, a kiddie pool with water sprays, a pirate ship and two smaller water slides.

The Pleasants County Commission allocated $700,000 for the project to go with $100,000 in state and local grants and business contributions.

Powell said the new center was an asset to the community.

“This is one of those things that sets Pleasants County apart from other communities,” he said.

Officials held a grand opening at the pool Tuesday morning and presented a plaque dedicating the center to longtime community activist Art Olds.

Olds is a former mayor of St. Marys, a member of the Pleasants County Economic Development Authority and a former member of the park board and the Red Cross. He was also recognized as a Distinguished West Virginian by then Gov. Bob Wise.

“I am humbled and honored to be chosen,” the 91-year-old Olds told the crowd.

Farnsworth presented Olds a plaque that will hang outside the bathhouse, along with a smaller one for Olds.

He said the goal of the pool – taking its cue from Olds – has been to get kids into the pool. The refurbished aquatic center is meeting expectations.

Admission for kids is $2.25, $2.75 for adults.

Kelly Cottrill, president of the Pleasants County Park Board, said officials plan to continue work on the park by expanding parking, repairing roof and gutters on the bathhouse, adding landscaping and renovating the restrooms.

“We look forward to the continued growth of our park,” he said.