$33.6 million aquatic center at Ridgeland proposed –
By JACK WEATHERLYMississippi isn’t necessarily known as a “swimming” state. But a plan has been floated to change that.An 88,700-square-foot facility at an estimated cost of $33.6 million has been proposed for land to be donated by the city of Ridgeland for the Mississippi Aquatic Center.The facility would rely on corporate sponsorships — including the possibility of naming rights for big participants — and fees.It also would need a bond issue from the state.A commitment from the local government and private sector would be essential to show the Legislature, said state Rep. Cory Wilson, Republican, for District 73.“Getting private buy-in and local buy-in is the key thing,” State Rep. Cory Wilson, Republican, for District 73“Getting private buy-in and local buy-in is the key thing,” Wilson said.Wilson said he started talking with city officials, during the 2016 legislative session.“I’m certainly supportive of the facility they’re talking about,” he said.Wilson acknowledged there will be competition for a bond issue, given the state’s needs – roads and bridges improvements and maintenance being high on the list – and its deficit budget.Alan Hart, director of Community Development for Ridgeland, said the city may contribute acreage valued at about $1 million for the facility.» READ MORE: Greensboro, N.C. center a success for area but operates at a lossThe site would be east of Interstate 55, south of the Freedom Ridge Park with its sports fields and Lake Harbour Drive extension.A study was carried out by Wallover Aquatics International LLC of Lancaster, Pa. It was paid for by the Ridgeland Tourism Commission and the board of the Sunkist Swim Team. The commission is supported by a hotel and restaurant tax. READ MORE..