A grand opening for the new, $13 million aquatic park in New Hope has been hotly anticipated since it was foregone last year. The swim complex’s original opening, slated for the summer of 2020, was scrapped due to the pandemic. Instead, the park will open to the public for the first time Saturday, June 5.
New Hope Aquatic Park is next door to Hy-Vee and City Hall on Xylon Avenue. The park features an eight-lane, 50-meter swimming pool with diving boards, and a youth play area with two twisting body slides, lazy river, vortex pool and playground.
The park replaces the Milton C. Honsey community pool, which closed to the public at the end of the 2017 season after 60 years in service.
Parks and Recreation Director Susan Rader said the department was looking forward to a great opening season.
“It was disappointing for everyone last year – staff, council and, of course, those who wanted to swim at the pool,” said Rader.
In a year when recreation staff members were challenged to come up with new programming ideas like take-home kits and virtual activities, the pool opening and a return to in-person events in the coming months is likely a relief.
Now, some of those programs can also include getting a little wet: Rader said the aquatic park will also host six levels of swimming lessons, a lifeguarding course, independent lap swimming and water walking programs.
Rader said the department is adhering and adjusting to all COVID-19 protocols set forth by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control – whatever they may be on opening day.
“As we’ve all learned these 12-plus months, we have to be flexible and be able to change directions quickly,” said Rader. She said staff members will better understand capacity expectations in the next month.
The park’s most requested feature was the 50-meter swimming pool, which Rader said is not in abundance in Minnesota. The large size is preferred by experienced and competitive swimmers, who have to regularly commute to Bloomington, Edina or Richfield to train.
“People enjoy having the large water space, it’s preferred for lap swimmers and the swim teams truly appreciate having a 50-meter pool for practice and for being able to host swim meets,” said Rader.
The replacement pool was originally planned to only span 25 meters, but expanded to 50 meters after $2 million was granted to the city via the 2018 state bonding bill. The money covered the additional funds needed to double the size of the pool.
Single-day admission to the aquatic park will be $10, with a $2 discount for seniors, military and those admitted after 5 p.m. Unlimited season passes and punch passes are available for purchase online. Early bird rates will end June 4. For more information, visit newhopemn.gov/aquatics.