From The Southfield Sun
By Mary Beth Almond
Families and friends will make a splash at the Southfield Sports Arena Pool this summer, thanks to some new pool updates.
“We believe the kids will be extremely excited, as well as all the residents, about the new and improved pool features, as well as the enormous improvement in the locker room,” said Doug Lock, acting director of the Southfield Parks and Recreation Department.
The pool officially opened for the summer June 16, kicking off the arena’s 41st summer of programs by giving pool patrons the chance to test out the new Aqua Climb climbing wall in the deep end of the Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool and two new interactive play features in the kiddie pool.
“We’re really excited about some of the upgrades we’ve made to the pool and the building overall. In the last year, we’ve probably put over $500,000 into capital improvements into the facility, and we’re really excited about this summer,” said Ted Davis, facility supervisor for the Southfield Sports Arena. “We’re hoping this summer, with all the new things, that it’s a record summer for us and that we’re busy all the time. … Last summer probably had about 6,000 through the pool. I’d love to see us break 10,000.”
Toddlers and young children got a kick out of the new pelican and three bell water features, which operate on a hand pump similar to an old-fashioned well, inside the existing 10- by-10-foot kiddie pool.
“You actually go in the kiddie pool and turn the handle and it puts water up into the bells or the pelican’s mouth and it drops down on the kid,” Davis said. “We thought that was pretty neat, and an effective and inexpensive way to upgrade the kiddie pool. … We thought this would give it some splash pad features, while still being able to maintain the original structure.”
But Davis expects the biggest draw this summer to be the climbing wall in the 50-meter outdoor swimming pool, which many youth and adults tested out on opening day.
“I’ve been to other pools that have it, and they tell me that five years after they installed it, they still have a line for the climbing wall, so I’m thinking that with that being the new big thing in the pool that’s going to draw the most attention,” he said.
The climbing wall is similar to one you might see at a gym, Davis said.
“It actually slopes back into the pool and you climb up at an angle, so when you drop, you’re dropping right into the deep end. It’s not straight up and down. It’s actually like a semi-circle almost,” he explained.
The pool also features a 120-foot waterslide, which Davis said has been in operation for 27 years now.
“Shockingly enough, if you get some momentum, it’s pretty quick,” he added. “You hit that water going pretty fast.”
After taking a dip in the pool or catching some rays on a lounger, pool patrons can head to the upper deck area to enjoy some snacks from home or some concessions available at the facility, including Little Caesar’s pizza.
General Swim pool hours are 1-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Aug. 25. General Swim admission is $4 for residents younger than 18, $5 for nonresidents under 18, $5 for resident adults, and $6 for nonresident adults. Season swim passes are also available for individuals and families.
“We try to keep it reasonable to bring a family out here,” Davis said.
Swim lessons for ages 3 and up are offered in the morning and evenings throughout the summer.
The pool is also available Friday and Saturday evenings or all day Sundays through August for rental for birthday and graduation parties, and neighborhood gatherings. Prices range from $200 to $300 per hour, and slots are sold in hour increments only. The kiddie pool is available for private birthday parties for children 8 and younger for $75 per hour.
The Southfield Sports Arena is located on the grounds of the Southfield Municipal Complex, 26000 Evergreen Road, between 10 Mile and I-696. For more information, call (248) 796-4640.