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Meridian Aquatic Center ready for May 26 opening

The Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center poolis filled and warming up as May 26, the official opening of the year, approaches. On the left is the new water play feature that was installed last week.

By ROSS FLINT - rflint@shelbynews.com

The water might still be a bit chilly when local elementary school students take a dip later this week at the Meridian Park Family Aquatic Center.

But the pool, located at 101 McKinley Street in Shelbyville, is ready with several new features available this summer.

A new hot water heater was installed on Monday, the latest in a series of upgrades and changes made to the pool.

Opening day for the public is May 26 and the biggest addition that children will notice is a new water play feature that has two slides into the pool and different water toys.

Rules are posted on the new play piece, which has a weight limit of 300 pounds.

While children will be able to enjoy that new feature, parents can enjoy the new convenience of using credit and debit cards at the park.

“A lot of people, they don’t carry cash and we’ve had several come up wanting to get in,” parks department director Karen Martin told the board at Wednesday’s meeting. “And then they have to go clear across town to get money and sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t.”

Recreation director Trisha Tackett said during the board meeting that she expects it to help out, particularly at the front gate.

The Parks department is using GovPay, which allows the city to not be charged a fee. A $1.75 fee for under $50 spent goes toward the card owner, Tackett said.

Tackett anticipates residents will use their card to get into the park but will use cash for snacks because of the fee. Credit and debit cards will be accepted inside the park as well, however.

“For your average person maybe getting a popcorn and drink, that might not be the wisest choice to do that,” she said of using a card inside. “But I think people will like the credit card. I think it’s a nice feature to add because everything is credit or debit anymore.”

Another new feature are two cabanas that will be available to rent.

Visitors will have the option of renting for half a day or full day, Tackett said. The details for renting them are still being worked out.

“That way, not everyone wants to go and stay a full six hours,” she said. “Some want to go and stay about three or four hours, so we’re going to do a half-day and full-day rental price. I think it’s going to be a nice added feature, it’s a nice private space.”

There are new umbrellas for the concession area, the lifeguards are ready, and much of the painting, including inside the locker rooms, is complete.

The department has hired a staff of 42 and they will be trained before the pool opens, Tackett said.

Wi-Fi will also be available to the public.