City moves forward and lays out preliminary design for new Aquatic Center project

GREAT FALLS, Mont. - After a rough start to the planning process, the City of Great Falls is finally moving forward with its new aquatic facility project.

The city officially laid out its preliminary design for this project, and now the next step is to get it finalized.

The new facility will be set up on the eastern side of Lions Park and so far, the design plan looks to include a gym, multiple pool areas, a party room and much more.

The city has visited with Neighborhood Councils and updated the City Commission on the plan. Next, they will conduct a traffic study and once the final design is approved they can move to the next step.

"Once that's all completed then we would have to start preparing bid documents. When the bid documents are done then obviously, we're going to go out to bid and then once the bids come in, we would go to the commission to select a bidder and start breaking ground," said Steve Herrig, director for Parks & Recreation.

The grant from the federal government used for the project does require the city to break ground by this September, but Herrig says it could be a couple of years before doors open.

"We have 20 months right now for the construction phase, so we're looking at either late summer or early fall of 2023 to open the facility."

Originally the city had three locations in mind for the project but Herrig says this park will be best for the community.

"There’s commercial, there's 10th Avenue South, there's grade school right there, walking distance for kids in that area. It just checks a lot of the boxes."

Herrig says from here on out they expect a smooth process.

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