Columbus natatorium to be complete in months - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Columbus natatorium to be complete in months

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COLUMBUS, GA -

The natatorium in Columbus is less than a year away from being complete. However, the Columbus City Council still has some decisions to make before the doors open.

Crews are hard at work on the natatorium. The  project with an Olympic-sized pool inside is one that officials say could bring in tens of millions of dollars into Columbus. To get more of an insight on what a swim center can do for our area, Columbus City Council turned to Robbie Perkins, mayor of Greensboro, North Carolina, on Tuesday where a similar facility is already up and running.

"The event bookings far exceeded our expectations, and we ended up doing about $42 million the first 12 months this facility was open," said Perkins.

Using Skype, Perkins talked with council members and answered questions about things like operational costs ticketing prices, and how many people use the aquatic center in Greensboro.

"The folks that are booking this facility from outside the community are coming from all over," said Perkins.

Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says talking with Perkins emphasized the importance of bringing in a director soon.

"He made his point that you have to have that person on board soon because they have to be booking these events ahead of time. They clearly did book theirs ahead of time and that's why they had the remarkable economic impact," said Tomlinson.

Tomlinson says it has not been decided if Columbus Parks and Recreation, another department, or a third party will manage the natatorium.

Perkins offered advice no matter what council decides.

"We do run it like a business. We did note our costs and what we can charge for various events and we market very heavily through the marketing staff," said Perkins.

Officials say the natatorium is on schedule to be complete in June of next year.

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