Task Force Formed To Help Columbus Aquatic Center

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Columbus city leaders hope a new task force will get the Columbus Aquatic Center on the right track.

To help keep the Aquatic Center fully open – Parks and Rec Director James Worsley updated the City Council today on its new 15-person task force.

He hopes this group will come up with a plan to save the center.

In March – the waters will be swimming with hundreds of competitive divers and swimmers.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes will hold its 2016 and 2017 men’s and women’s swimming and diving national championships here bringing in more than 450 athletes and their families – and $337,000 to the local community.

District 9 Councilor Judy Thomas wants to make sure the community gets the message, “We need to be marketing not only to other communities, but to our own people too.”

The Aquatic Center opened in 2013 but after just 18 months the city cancelled the contract with the private company that was hired to run it.

The NAIA championships is part of the plan to keep the Aquatic Center afloat.

That and a new 15 person task force.

James Worsley, Columbus Parks and Rec Director, helped to create the task force. “A group of people that can come up with ideas to generate ideas and short and long term goals that perhaps could be sustainable.”

Parks and Rec Director James Worsley presented the goals of the task force to City Council Tuesday.

They want to fundraise, gain corporate sponsorships, market the center, and attract additional events… all to generate more revenue.

Jerry “Pops” Barnes, District 1 Councilor says, “I’m not interested in the naysayers. I’m interested in one thing – making this natatorium the success I know it can be.”

In December – Worsley told Councilors he may have to cut the hours of the Aquatic Center.

So the city is hoping this task force and the upcoming NAIA Championship will turn things around.

Gary Allen, District 6 Councilor says, “You have an opportunity coming up to showcase the Aquatic Center.”

This task force plans to meet every Monday – they’ve already met twice and are expected to really dive into this challenge.


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