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August 6, 2008 > Aqua Adventure Water Park on target

Aqua Adventure Water Park on target

Fremont plans a big splash next year

By William Marshak

Traveling along Paseo Padre Parkway near Grimmer Blvd. in Fremont, it is difficult to miss the towering slides and assorted apparatus of Fremont's entry into the world of water parks. Just one year ago - July 31, 2007 - a ceremony was held to "break ground" for the four-acre Fremont Bank Aqua Adventure Water Park. Replacing the defunct Puerto Penasco Swim Lagoon which for many years served as the local swimming hole, this new incarnation is a significant leap into the future. Funding of this multi-million dollar facility came from a variety of sources including State Proposition monies, Recreation Operating Improvement Reserves and notable grants from the Candle Lighters, Fremont Bank Foundation and support from NUMMI. Additional partnerships are on the Aqua Adventure "To Do" list to make sure that local kids unable to afford entrance fees are able to use it too.

Slated to open in May 2009, Fremont Director of Parks and Recreation, Annabell Holland said that even after construction is finished, there will be much to do. Although the physical structures are projected to be completed by September 30 of this year, Holland noted that this is just the beginning of a lengthy process before the facility can be opened to the public. "We go into a 'punch list' of the project and commissioning of the pools and a long list of certifications."

Following receipt of the site from construction operations, expected in late October or early November, water park management under Central Park's Recreation Superintendent Kelly King and newly hired Water Park Manager Kim Beranek will begin the onsite process of park organization, staff development and operations. Locker rooms, concession stands, food service, picnic areas, offices and other park amenities that begin as bare sites will be furnished and readied for occupancy. Holland noted that Fremont is fortunate to have the services and advice of Beranek who has run a 26-acre park in Mississippi and worked at Concord's Water World.

Construction Project Manager Larry Salerno, Jr. of Anchor Engineering is pleased with the progress of construction. He noted that all elements of the water park were coordinated under one contractor and each was coordinated to move toward a common completion date. "This is one project. It looks like there are two separate projects - water elements and office/lockers facility - but it is all controlled by one general contractor." The project began August 2007 and Salerno noted that the construction conditions were set at that time so economic changes in the interim have had little effect on costs. "The contractor has been very good about planning and material purchases in advance so we have not been affected by price increases." Salerno said that he has been extremely pleased with the open communications between the city and contractor when working on construction-related problems. "It has been a great project."

Two open and two enclosed slides twist and turn from a height of 40 feet above pools and slide-stopping water gates called "run-outs." A 700 square foot, three foot deep "lazy river" surrounds much of the complex while a splash zone of fun water features will lure kids of all ages to frolic through water jets and spray. In addition, a 25-yard "utility pool" with five lanes will provide a swimming and exercise venue. For those less adventurous or too small for strenuous action, a zero depth entry to the water course and a water bucket spray area has a depth of only 12" of water. Holland noted, "The deepest section of the entire park is four feet in the middle of the utility (lap) pool." Twelve shade structures will provide relief from the sun on hot days.

Although there is additional acreage at the site for possible expansion (approximately four of seven acres is being developed), Holland said, "I am very protective of this as a family-oriented water park." She said there is a possibility of adding other features within that theme if the numbers justify it. "In ground" capacity of Aqua Adventure - the number of people that be accommodated at any point in time -is approximately 1,200 people. It is projected that the crowd will change about two times each day.

Guests will not be allowed to bring food into the park, but food service is planned within including a grilling area so guests will have healthy options and be able to select "good food at a decent price." Wristbands will facilitate multiple entries so those who would like to have a picnic outside the water park can do so and re-enter later. Birthday parties will be welcome at Aqua Adventure and may reserve a shade area to congregate. Groups that would like to reserve Aqua Adventure for private functions will have an opportunity to do so after hours. Since the park is scheduled to close late afternoon, private functions may become a popular use of the facility. "We have two group areas that can be used for such parties," said Holland. Pricing is still being discussed and in October, the Recreation Commission will submit a recommendation.

"A huge piece of what we plan to do is promote all areas of the park along with the new facility," said King. "Our summer programs will have a water park component." Holland noted that family members accompanying sports tournament participants may be attracted to the water park while the competition is in progress. "There will probably be special partnering packages that include water park entrance. This will be a great draw for the park."

Traffic concerns along Paseo Padre Parkway should be offset by park hours which Holland said are projected to "open after commute and close before commute." She added that due to the park's location and challenging access from Grimmer Blvd., "We will work on signage with traffic engineering to help direct people." She added that the schedule for opening allows time to work on such details. "As much as I was disappointed on the delay that caused us to miss this season, it has given us time to really think things through and start off right."

Fremont plans to make a splash next year with the new Fremont Bank Aqua Adventure and the only thing the city asks in return is for visitors to bring a desire to have fun.

For additional information about Fremont Bank Aqua Adventure Water Park, visit http://www.fremont.gov/Recreation/CurrentParkProjects/Default.htm or contact Kelly King (510) 494-4327 kking@ci.fremont.ca.us or Annabell Holland (510) 494-4329 aholland@ci.fremont.ca.us.

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