Center Circle pool will close for rebuild, SPAR to hold meeting for community input on redesign

Published 8:59 am Saturday, May 21, 2022

Center Circle pool will close this summer to begin demo and construction of a new space and water features. Sulphur residents will have a hand in the redesign, according to the Sulphur Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners.

“There are some very impressive things that could be brought to the community, and we certainly hope we can make that happen,” said SPAR interim executive director Laurie Koezler.

A timeline for the process to redesign Center Circle Park was presented at the Tuesday SPAR board meeting and updated at the special meeting held Thursday.

Koezler explained why SPAR opened Center Circle pool last summer. She called it “doable” for this summer and presented estimates on the cost to do so.

“It’s just a matter of, do we want to delay progress in that area or do we want to move forward and have the design in place to open that facility next year.  We take pride in what we offer to the community. We work hard. We like to do things first class. We want to have every one of our parks back up and sparkling again. So please, keep that in mind. We’re not against anything. We want everyone to have what they had before, plus some.”

While experts around the country acknowledged the stress COVID had levels of stress, isolation and anxiety, Koezler said, “Our community was also devastated by two hurricanes, which elevated the emotional stress for residents.”

Weeks were spent planning to open Center Park pool, according to ADA guidelines because it was in the best interest of the community to provide a retreat for outdoor fun, she said. “A conscious choice was made to open Center Circle Park by any means necessary because our residents were in some need of normalcy.”

SPAR awarded the contract for the redesign to Duplantis Design Group.

SPAR and Duplantis will host a public involvement meeting for design and planning purposes to include brainstorming and idea collecting.

Koezler offered some possibilities for the group assembled to think about: splash pads, small dog park, extended walking path connecting the commons, beach entry swimming pool, butterfly garden, updated tennis courts, pickleball (sport that combines tennis, badminton and ping-pong) court, improved playgrounds that are rubberized and new improved pavilions.

According to the timeline announced at the board’s monthly meeting, the community input meeting will be in July.