June. 20, 2006

Triangle Aquatics Center breaks ground in Cary


Triangle Aquatics Center has taken a slapshot for swimming in western Wake County.

Using hockey sticks instead of shovels, TAC officials and local dignitaries broke ground for their flagship facility behind Cary Towne Center mall Saturday. Construction is expected to start in a couple of weeks.

After four years of planning, TAC President Michael Curran said that more than feeling relief, he was gratified by "the realization that it's going to happen for the community."

Cary Town Council member Jack Smith called the facility "yet another example of committed Cary citizens and businesses stepping up. … We know TAC could have gone anywhere in the county."

In 2003, TAC approached the town about splitting the cost of a $15 million facility. Cary declined to participate. The facility, expected to open in the fall of 2007, is now projected to cost between $17.5 million and $20 million.

The 60,000-square-foot facility will comprise three pools, including an eight-lane, 50-meter competition pool, warm-water teaching pool and 10-lane, 25-yard pool. With the Cary location as its flagship, TAC's vision is for several facilities throughout Wake County.

Though privately funded, the facility would be open for public swimming hours. No membership will be required.

The center will be the first to open to the public in Wake County since 1988. Cary is the largest municipality in the state without a publicly funded swimming facility.

Curran said he got the idea for the hockey sticks as a way of supporting the Carolina Hurricanes after attending a Hurricanes-Edmonton Oilers Stanley Cup Finals game last week.

He also arranged to have Hurricanes mascot Stormy on hand to mingle with the nearly 200 people who attended.

"We think the pool will definitely be a positive in the swimming world here," said Yvonne Stewart, parent of a year-round swimmer.

Stewart attended with her 12-year-old daughter, Shannon, who had her Hurricanes sweater signed by and picture taken with Stormy.

"It was great," Shannon said.