Hundreds crowded the city’s Elk Grove Aquatics Center on May 25 to join the long-awaited facility’s grand opening.

This $42 million project at Civic Center Drive, just south of Elk Grove Boulevard, features a 50-meter pool, a six-lane fitness and instructional pool, a recreational pool, and two 30-foot water slides.

Other features include a concessions stand, various swim lessons and pool party rentals.

The opening of the facility was especially exciting for its attendees, since the center experienced a yearlong delay.

With its groundbreaking in May 2017, the city announced that the center would open on May 28, 2018. But that plan never materialized due to weather and construction delays.

But with those delays now a thing of the past, Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly spoke about the opening of the new swimming center.

“Being out here, seeing it and jumping in the pool (during the previous day with other Council members) really kind of brings it all together,” he said. “I’m just tickled pink. I’m really excited about this (facility).”

Local parks provider, the Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) is managing the city-owned facility.

Traci Farris, recreation manager for the Cosumnes Community Services District, praised that partnership.

“(This) is such a tremendous opportunity for the city of Elk Grove and the Cosumnes CSD to come together and offer something to the citizens of Elk Grove,” she said. “This is really exciting.”

Elk Grove City Manager Jason Behrmann said that he witnessed some of the changes in the aquatics center project that led to its appearance today.

“This is a long time coming,” he said. “The city has been working on this for over a decade and it’s changed a lot over the years. When I came, it was a facility that was over budget, both from a construction standpoint, as well as in operations.

“We re-envisioned it to make it a facility that we could not only afford to build, but could afford to operate without cutting corners that the community would really appreciate.”

Marco Esposito, the project’s planner and landscape architect, mentioned that the center is more than a recreational attraction.

“It is a sophisticated community gathering place,” he said. “It will really be a social hub for Elk Grove. It’s recreation, but in a very grounded way. It will keep getting better, because the (city’s nearby) community center is going to be built in about three months.”

Also included as part of the plans for this site is the pedestrian-friendly public space known as The Commons.

Both the Elk Grove Piranhas Swim Team and the Elk Grove Aquatics Club plan to use the new swimming facility daily.

Brenda Smart, head coach of the Piranhas, expressed her excitement for the opening of the center.

“It means everything,” she said. “To be able to swim in a 50-meter pool after working with the city all these years, to see it finally come to fruition is a dream come true.

“It’s a top quality facility. It’s the best in the region.”

Kerri Nava, president of the Elk Grove Aquatics Club, noted that the facility will assist both her team and the community.

“We’re able to grow exponentially and (the center will) provide the community the ability for hotels, businesses by bringing in (top swim teams) and hosting huge events.”

None of Elk Grove’s public high schools have swimming pools. School swim teams have to use community aquatic centers for practice or competition.

Among the many guests of the center on May 25 were longtime Elk Grove residents George Beitzel and Bob Trigg.

Beitzel, whose family dates back to 1909 in Elk Grove, said that he is pleased with this new swimming center.

“I think we’re lucky to have the pool,” he said. “When my son was in high school, he was a swimmer and they didn’t have a pool for (his school), and we would drive all over town to find one. It would have been easier on the parents and easier on the kids to have a big, massive complex like this.”

Trigg, who was brief in his comments, called the new facility “delightful.”