A large white binder has sat upright on a table across from the desk of the director of Oxford Parks and Recreation for 12 years.
When Casey Wooddell became director in 2016, he inherited a project that was killed by the recession.
“OXFORD FAMILY AQUATIC CENTER FEASIBILITY STUDY, OXFORD, OHIO, SEPTEMBER 2006,” the large black letters on the cover screamed.
The binder contains the results of a study conducted 12 years ago to determine whether Oxford needed a new aquatic center.
“The study said ‘yes, we need it,’” Wooddell said. “And then the recession hit in 2008 so we didn’t build it.”
It could have ended there, but revival efforts eventually ensued, headed by the former director, Gail Brahier.
Over a decade since the plan was conceived, Oxford is planning to open the new aquatic center in May.
Its name? That’s up to you.
A form on the City of Oxford’s website invites Oxford residents to contribute to the naming of the new water park.
Those who fill out the form will be entered into a drawing to win a free 2019 season pass to the new facility, according to the website. The questionnaire asks if the word “Oxford” is important in the name, and if attracting out-of-town visitors is important for residents.
“What I’m learning,” Wooddell said, “is that it’s all over the place.”
Wooddell said the new aquatic center plans to serve the Talawanda school district, which is “certainly more than just Oxford.”
The aquatic center will have a little something for everyone, including a zero-depth entry pool, a lazy river, a slide and a convocation pool for older age groups.
“The aquatic center is designed to serve people of all ages, whereas our pool now is really designed to serve just kids,” Wooddell said. “It’s hard to get teenagers to want to come to a pool that we have now where it’s overrun by little kids, and the same with adults and seniors.”
As far as university students go, Wooddell said the new aquatic center is designed to accommodate them, too, but that Miami students are not the focus.
“If you asked 100 Miami students, maybe 10 of them would know about the Oxford parks,” he said.
The forms will be reviewed by the committee on September 17 and the name of the aquatic center will be released shortly thereafter. The facility will officially open on May 25, 2019.
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