City moves ahead with plans for aquatic center on Moana

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Reno's long wait for an aquatic center may be coming to an end.

The Reno City Council has voted to move ahead in partnership with a citizen's group, Sierra Nevada Community Aquatics, to raise funding to build and operate a $15-to-20 million facility on the site of the old Moana pool.

Generations of locals learned to swim at the old pool, but that came to an end a decade ago as years of neglect caught up with it. It was closed and torn down.

In the years since, Sierra Nevada Community Aquatics has been working toward a replacement. That effort has finally had some success, but has apparently reached a point that requires a commitment from the city.

Reno Parks Director Andy Bass told the council the group has identified sources for a major portion of the construction costs, but that funding is dependent upon a commitment from the city to build and operate what will be known as the Moana Springs Aquatic Center.

As proposed, it would include not only a competition-sized pool, but a fitness center, an outdoor family water park area and hot springs. The Moana site sits on an active geothermal spring and historically hosted mineral baths.

Bass and Sierra Nevada Community Aquatics representative Chip Hobson told the council Reno is grossly underserved for swimming pools and recreation centers. First among reasons for addressing that need is safety. Generations of local kids are growing up without learning to swim--an essential life skill.

Bass says it would take a minimum of two years to secure financing and build the facility.