The recently constructed $2.7 million Crenshaw Springs Aquatic Center in White Hall will have its grand opening for the public from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.
The park includes a zero-entry pool for people with limited mobility; a play area for younger kids; animated-aquatic features; water-spraying features; a large waterslide tower; another waterslide tower with two slides, one of which is a speed slide; diving boards; a current channel that resembles a lazy river; places to tan; a concession stand; and a rock-climbing wall.
“When I was a kid, the highlight of our entertainment was riding our bikes to Jones Pet Store, getting a coke and watching the fish swim around in their tank,” said White Hall Mayor Noel Foster. “Now parents and kids will be able to come to this aquatic center and make memories for generations to come. The center is a great addition to White Hall and all of Southeast Arkansas.”
Foster said one of the main attractions of Crenshaw Springs, which holds 500,000 gallons of water at any given time, is the unique rock-climbing wall. The wall looks like any other rock-climbing wall, but when falling, the climber lands in a pool of water — making an unsuccessful journey to the top not so bad after all.
“There’s something for everyone no matter their age,” the mayor said.
The aquatic center is a part of a larger project the city has undertaken. Foster said construction is still underway on a new community center building, which is set to be completed in December or January.
The mayor said funding for the collaborative aquatic center and community center projects was derived from a $4 million bond issue and other money the city has saved over time.
Foster said the community center, which will be named after his predecessor ex-mayor James “Jitters” Morgan, and the aquatic center have been on the drawing board for “many, many years.”
When Morgan was leaving office, Foster said Morgan asked him to get the project underway. Foster and the city then sent a survey to all of the residents of White Hall asking what they would like to see added to the city. The results revealed the construction of an aquatic center was overwhelmingly favored.
“There were a large number of people who requested we build an aquatic center,” the mayor said. “So we’re giving the people what they want. We could have built a pool for far less money, but after speaking with other mayors in different municipalities that all had aquatic centers, we decided building Crenshaw Springs was the best thing to do for White Hall.”
Construction on the project began in September 2013 and was headed by Carrothers Construction Company of Paola, Kan. The mayor said he was proud of the fact that the company used local labor, materials and subcontractors to complete the aquatic center because it generated work for local residents. He also said construction was finished ahead of time — original plans had the grand opening to take place on July 4.
Foster said one of the key reasons he is an avid proponent of the aquatic center is because of the revenue it will bring into the city, as he plans on the park being able to draw in crowds from 50 to 60 miles away.
“We’ve been able to reinvest tax money back into the community by providing them with this aquatic center,” Foster said. “People can now come out and support and enjoy the facility in White Hall as it helps our community and businesses develop economically.”
The aquatic center was strategically designed to be located in Crenshaw Springs because that is where the city began, the mayor said. He also said the concession stand has been coined Two-Dog Jack’s, in honor of the city’s first mayor Jack Moody. Foster said Moody had two dogs with him at all times.
Children ages 3 and under will receive free admission to the aquatic center, while ages 4-8 will be charged a $6 gate fee, ages 9-12 an $8 fee and ages 13 and older a $10 fee.