Wet and Wild
Pollock Community Water Park
After closing its 40-year-old Pollock Pool in 2003 due to poor attendance and rising maintenance costs, the city of Oshkosh was lacking aquatic recreation options. Residents were visiting other neighboring community pools to get their swimming fix.
Noting this, a partnership of community residents and government officials began discussions about bringing aquatics back to Oshkosh, improving the quality of life for the city's 63,000 or so residents. This group understood the limits of city budgets. On its own, the city of Oshkosh could not afford to build a new aquatic facility. A civic action group was formed to help bridge the public and private sector, and ultimately raise the funds to build the facility.
The citizens group worked with CR Meyer and Sons Inc., a design/build construction firm headquartered in Oshkosh, to tap anonymous donors to fund design and construction. Three influential families in the community committed to $6.5 million to build the waterpark, as well as $1 million for a maintenance endowment. More funds came from citizen contributions, in addition to the original donation made to build the former Pollock Pool facility.
"It was unique in that it was privately funded through the foundation," said Dean Mueller, project manager with Water Technology. "There was a lot of private funding that came together very quickly. The foundation did a great job of coordinating that."
Once funds were secured, a site for the new waterpark had to be determined. The group considered 17 sites throughout Oshkosh, but ultimately came back to the existing Pollock Pool site. The benefits of the existing site included its central location, the fact that the city already owned the property, its location along a bus route and available parking.
Once the site was found, the project quickly came to fruition. The park sits on 3.24 acres. To maintain a consistency with other city-owned areas, the pool's fencing is wrought-iron with brick posts—the same fencing used at many city-owned facilities.
"The building design and fence design are unique to Oshkosh and similar to what they've done downtown," Mueller said.
Patrons enter the facility through an open corridor in the bathhouse that is lined with what one of our judges described as "beautiful pool entrance murals." Once inside, they can choose from many different aquatic amenities.
Visitors can get wet in the 8,000-square-foot pool with zero-depth entry, splash among several interactive play elements, take a trip down one of the slides or dive in from one of the 1-meter diving boards.
Oshkosh is the first municipal pool in the state to feature a lazy river, complete with a tube and body slide, random dumping buckets, wall sprays, waterfalls and a large water playground.
"The lazy river is unique in that it's the first one in a Wisconsin public pool," Mueller said. "And there's a 3,010-square-foot spray pad with an interactive water play structure."
The park features bright primary colors throughout, both in the shade structures and in the aquatic attractions. These colors are fun and inviting for community kids. White ropes and bollards were used throughout the facility to keep the focus on these bright colors.
The facility opened in June 2006, and in less than two months, more than 50,000 visitors had stopped in for a swim. The commitment of community leaders really paid off in bringing aquatics back to the community.