City makes a splash with Del Mar pool, park remodel

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AURORA | It was a rush of water to his face after coming out of a 181-foot-long, lime-green water slide that delighted 8-year-old Joshua Borja.

“It’s my favorite part,” he said to his mother Laura, who was sitting at a table nearby under an umbrella with her sister in early June.

Joshua Borja goes down the new water slide at Del Mar Park and Family Aquatic Center, June 4, 2015.(Photo by Trevor L Davis/Aurora Sentinel)
Joshua Borja goes down the new water slide at Del Mar Park and Family Aquatic Center, June 4, 2015.(Photo by Trevor L Davis/Aurora Sentinel)

The family, which lives about five minutes away from the pool, were counting down the days for the newly revamped Del Mar Park and Family Aquatic Center to open to the public.

“When we first came here, it was not nice. Everything was really outdated and dirty,” Laura Borja said. “It was not fun. It was just a boxy-looking pool.”

For the past two years Del Mar Pool — built in the 1950s as the city’s first outdoor swimming pool — has been undergoing major renovations. For decades, the dilapidated pool went without any. 

Del Mar Family
Aquatic Center
The Del Mar Park and Family Aquatic Center is part of the 39.9-acre Del Mar Park at 12000 E. Sixth Avenue. Drop-in fees are $3.50 for youth and $5.00 for adults. Learn more at www.auroragov.org/aquatics.

The completely updated pool and aquatic additions finally opened over Memorial Day weekend, said city parks spokeswoman Sherri-Jo Stowell, after being closed for the 2013 and 2014 summer swim seasons.

In addition to the water slide, improvements include a 25-meter lap pool with diving boards, a new bathhouse and outdoor lockers, and a concession stand.

The new layout allows visitors to stake out a spot nearby or reserve a cabana-like picnic shelter with tables and shade.

Next to the pool is a spray park playground that opened last year. It’s replete with its own 100-foot-long slide, a mid-length slide and a toddler slide, as well as a giant red bucket that splashes water down to cool off visitors every few minutes. The playground’s design looks more like something one would see at Water World than what is normally found at a public city pool. 

“It’s my favorite part,”
Joshua Borja, 8 year old

Tom Barrett, Aurora’s Parks, Recreation and Open Space director, said that since the pool opened to the public, admissions have been at capacity, with long lines out the door on a daily basis. 

The aquatic center was designed by local firm Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative to accommodate hundreds each day. The total renovations for the pool and park cost about $7.75 million, which included design, permits and construction.