By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

A new water park is coming to the City of Killeen, and it could be up and running by next summer.

The Killeen City Council received the first concept plan diagrams for the Lions Club Water Park during a presentation Tuesday at its regular workshop session.

The presentation was given by engineers from Counsilman Hunsaker and Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. The engineers laid out a park plan which dwarfed early projections, showing a facility which, if completed as planned, will be larger and possess features comparable or surpassing similar parks in Waco, Cedar Park and Round Rock, as well as a park currently planned for Temple.

The presentation included design process findings such as a need for a family focus, a separate area for teens with a large portion catering to the rising population of KISD, additional spray and play areas for kids and an overall need to service the Killeen area for the next 20 years.

The park has a maximum capacity of 780 people and would hold a 2,180-square-foot bathhouse and a 10,360-square-foot multiuse pool. In addition it would have with a 25-meter lap pool (one-half the size of an Olympic pool, but the minimum regulation size for competitions), three water slides, a bowl slide and shade shelters.

All of it carries a $5.5 million price tag.

On March 23, a contract was signed to bring the process to fruition. Engineers emphasized that they came to the decisions based on visits with members of the community development department. Also, because the costs have escalated at a rate of 1 percent per month in the past year, the time is now to get this process moving forward.

The timetables indicate the ideal scenario for project completion would lead to a May 25, 2009, opening date for the public. Design development is expected to be completed by this month, and the project could go out for bid as early as Sept. 1, with construction starting as soon as Sept. 30 of this year.

The entire council eventually voiced their support behind the project, although several said they were surprised they had not been more informed of its progress.

Councilman Larry Cole, for instance, asked if the city could afford to do this sort of project, especially since the city seems to be putting money toward various other endeavors, such as police headquarters and the downtown revitalization project, just to name a few.

But City Manager Connie Green stated that all the money is budgeted for the project, and this will not increase the tax rate.

Mayor Pro Tem Fred Latham stated that he has been an advocate of this sort of project for some time. Councilmen Juan Rivera and Scott Cosper seconded those assertions, noting that if anything, they'd like to see an even bigger park, especially if the city is planning to use it for the next 20 to 25 years.

The council also received a show of support from a surprising source.

Killeen resident Bill King, who was the self-appointed leader of the charge to resist annexation into the city, said he has "drank the Kool-Aid."

"I'm enjoying living in the city of Killeen," said King, once a very outspoken opponent who said he has changed his stripes. "I am very impressed. This is a great opportunity and I love what you guys are doing with (the water park)."

Contact Justin Cox at or (254) 501-7568.

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