Construction on Fort Smith Aquatics Park Begins

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A new regional aquatics park will soon be under construction in Fort Smith.

Sebastian County and Fort Smith leaders will break ground on the project 5:30 p.m. Friday (March 7) at Ben Geren Park.

The nearly $11 million water park will feature a wave pool, lazy river, and four water slides. The city and county will split the bill for the new facility.

Voters approved the initial proposal in 2012, which at the time held a price tag of eight million dollars. The cost of the project, however, went up to include more features the community wanted at the park.

Deputy City Administrator Jeff Dingman said he expects the park to attract nearly 1,300 visitors each day, which will give a boost to the local economy.

"The size of the facility that we're going to put together, we think will be a draw from miles around for bringing in tourism dollars and that sort of thing into our economy," Dingman said.

The aquatics park is expected to be open for business Memorial Day weekend 2015.