Local News

Cary Trying To Juggle Two Aquatic Center Proposals Without Sinking Both

Posted May 1, 2005 6:47 a.m. EDT

— Cary is the largest town in North Carolina without a public aquatic facility. But soon, the town could go from having zero aquatic centers to having two, and having two similar projects may sink the overall goal.

"I believe the need is out there," said Cary Town Council member Nels Roseland. "It's a matter of what the town can afford."

The projects the town is currently juggling include the Cary Aquatic Center, which would have indoor and outdoor competition and recreational pools.

This aquatic center is publicly funded. The town has asked for $10 million from the hotel-motel tax funds to help cover the nearly $40 million cost of the facility.

The other facility is the Triangle Aquatic Center, also known as TAC. The plans for TAC include a 50-meter competition pool, a four-lane 25-yard pool and a therapy area and supporting amenities.

Officials with TAC, a non-project organization supported by private donations, recently got the final green light they needed to build behind Cary Towne Center. TAC's Mike Curran said they hope to have TAC open by the end of 2006.

But before they begin clearing land to build the center, Curran said, they want to know if the Cary Aquatic Facility will hinder its ability to be successful in the area.

"It does not make sense to build two indoor, fifty-meter competition pools in the same geographic location," Curran said.

Curran said if the Town of Cary proceeds with its plan to build a 50-meter pool, organizers with TAC may be forced to build their project somewhere other than Cary.

"They're both chasing similar markets," Roseland said. "And so yes, one could cannibalize the market for another."

Curran said that TAC would like to keep its features for competitive swimmers, and hopes the town will focus on pools for the whole family.

"Therefore, you have both competition and recreational facilities in the Town of Cary, at half cost to Cary taxpayers," Curran said.

Roseland added: "I think both have resources and both have similar goals that could effectively join forces, and that would make our job on the council a lot easier."