Batesville breaks ground for first-ever community center

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Batesville broke ground Friday for its first-ever community center.

"Batesville, Arkansas is being a little progressive today," mayor Rick Elumbaugh said.

The $22 million facility will house a large outdoor water park, indoor aquatic center, volleyball and racquetball courts, and more.

Mayor Elumbaugh said the center will increase the community's quality of life.

"We will reap the benefits for many years to come," Elumbaugh said. "Not only just the health benefit, but just the good quality of life. Our individuals that live in our community can use on a regular basis."

Mayor Elumbaugh hopes the center will also attract more visitors from outside of the community.

"We'll be able to host conventions, RV shows," Elumbaugh said.

Mayor Elumbaugh credits the citizens of Batesville for making this possible. In 2012, taxpayers approved a one-cent sales tax to fund the community center.

"I have to hand it to our community," Elumbaugh said. "They stepped forward. We greatly appreciate them."

Community members said they were pleased with the outcome.

"This is something that I didn't have. I graduated in 2006 and, if we had this, I could only imagine the days of the summer that I would spend here in the lazy river and playing basketball," Batesville resident Cliff Brown said.

"I'm excited to walk and run during the bad weather. We're excited because of the water aerobics and all of the opportunities for the kids," Batesville resident Marilyn Brewer said.

Both Brown and Brewer were born and raised in Batesville and said they cannot wait to see what the center does for the city.

"It's going to bring a lot of people in for conventions and sporting events," Brewer said.

"It's a great thing to keep our kids off the streets and have them somewhere where they can learn friendly competition," Brown said. "It's just a dream come true. It really is."

The community center is set to open in the spring of 2015.

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