Construction on the new city of Huntsville aquatics center is under way at Eastham-Thomason Park on Avenue N and is on schedule, according to city staff.

So far, workers have begun digging the eight-lane competition pool nearest to Avenue N, and work on the recreational pool is beginning, according to Ray Black, director of parks and recreation for the city.

Recent rains will not set construction back in the long run, but getting the water out of the dirt hole is a priority.

“We have to get that water out of the competition pool, and then we’ll just be working on the main drains, circulation and piping right now,” Black said.

The aquatics center was approved as part of a much larger Texas Parks and Wildlife grant awarded to the city last year that will allow an overhaul of the entire park area.

Tom Weger, planning and development superintendent for the city, explained what overall plans for the park will include, and what is on the schedule for construction in coming months.

Two parking lots are planned on 10th Street and will allow access to the park and the pool. Old Avenue O, which now resembles a paved dead-end street, will be renovated to accommodate vehicles. Also, an old home site adjacent to First National Bank will be paved and set up as a pick-up, drop-off lot at the pool entrance.

Another parking lot with access to the soccer fields will be located on Avenue N.

“In addition to the pools, we’ll have a dog park with a six-foot cyclone fence, a gazebo similar to the one on the downtown square and a crossover bridge from the new parking area to the soccer fields,” he said.

A Nature/Cultural Interpretive Center also will eventually be located across the street from Samuel Houston Elementary.

“We are focusing on the pool right now, but there are a lot of things to look forward to,” Weger said.

Eastham-Thomason Park is a 175-acre park that includes walking and hiking trails open year-round. A large playscape is one attraction for children already included in the park.

“Huntsville is a great place where several regions come together,” Weger said. “You can really see a little bit of that throughout the entire park. The intent through most of the park is a natural setting.”

“We have a lot of things we’ve been working on for a long time, and we have a master plan we want to accomplish.”

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