By Adoreil Ayoubgoulan
The North Natomas community just celebrated the grand opening of its long-awaited, multi-million-dollar aquatic center.
The center, located in North Natomas Regional Park, features an Olympic-size pool with diving boards, stadium seating for audiences for when there are competitions, a regular-size pool for people to swim in, and a large water slide. The children’s area features a playground, water slide, and an area to play in water. Visitors can take a picture standing next to a huge sculpture of a big flip flop. The center also has shaded picnic tables and cabanas.
Construction began in September 2019. The center officially opened on April 23 after construction delays due to the pandemic.
The $40 million center is meant to serve the entire Sacramento community 10 months a year, according to Jackie Beecham, Community Enrichment Division Manager for the city of Sacramento’s Department of Youth, Parks, and Community Enrichment
“It is the first facility that was truly designed to serve the entire region, the entire city of Sacramento, and it’s also our first ten-month facility,” Beecham said. “The majority of our other pools operate seasonally, this pool will be open 10 months out of the year and it is not just for this neighborhood it is for the entire city of Sacramento.”
Several Natomas residents said they were happy about the opening, especially with summer around the corner.
Veronica Tuss, who lives in North Natomas,said, “We are incredibly excited about this because our 4-year-old daughter over there loves everything about the water. Right now, we usually travel all the way to Manteca to the water parks there so this is just right in our own backyard.”
The aquatic center will offer swimming lessons, host large swim meets and serve as a hub for community events. In addition, the Inderkum High School water polo team will use the aquatic center for practice and competition instead of traveling to Natomas High.
Resident Patrick Campbell said he hopes the center will also create jobs in the community.
“I think it will definitely help,” he noted, “especially with youth getting some lifeguard positions.”
The admission cost for 2 to 17-year-olds is $5; adults 18+ is $7 and youth under the age of 2 get in for free.
Until the school lets out for the summer, the hours for recreation swim at the center will be Saturday and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about center programs and other hours of operation check out North Natomas Aquatics Complex on the City of Sacramento website.
Jessica Fox, a licensed lifeguard and Elk Grove resident, worked the grand opening event on April 23 and was excited to watch over families.
“I love it,” Fox acknowledged. “I ‘ve been a lifeguard for about six years and it’s one of the things I’ve always wanted to do and one of the things I am actually good at. I enjoy it and I think it’s easy to work your way up in this department.”