The latest addition to the Forest Park Aquatic Center pool is a bit eye-opening.
The center has added a LED videoboard, which is 31 1/2 feet wide by 12 1/2 feet tall.
“It was all privately funded so there is no taxpayer money,” said Greg Conner, who serves as president of Friends of Central Pool, a nonprofit that manages the public pool. “It all came from generous people in the community and businesses that helped us.”
The Noblesville resident said the videoboard, which he believes in the largest in the Midwest at an outdoor aquatic center, will allow the center to play trivia games, give announcements and show movies in the summer. Conner said the movie dates will be announced later.
“It will serve as a scoreboard for competitive swimming and diving and water polo,” Conner said. “We’ve been fortunate to host some pretty prominent events. We hosted the AAU National Diving Championships (in 2020), and last we hosted the U.S. Open Diving Championships and Indiana Age-Group State Championships, so (the scoreboard is) one more feather in the cap to host more prestigious events.”
Construction of the videoboard started in March and finished in time for the center’s opening on Memorial Day weekend.
Conner said American Structurepoint donated all the professional engineering services required for the videoboard. Sign Craft Industries provided the structural components and field installation. Sign Craft also provided the LED backlit Forest Park Aquatic Center sign that is on top of the videoboard. Beaty Construction installed the concrete footings that support the videoboard.
Conner said Gaylor Electric provided the wiring of the videoboard, which included significant and unplanned upgrades to the existing electrical infrastructure at the Forest Park Aquatic Center.
In addition, the Noblesville Township Trustees provided Forest Park with a $40,000 grant. Conner said $10,000 of the grant will be used for the rising cost of chemicals while keeping down the cost to the public.
“We’ve been able to hold our gate prices the same as last year,’ Conner said. “We haven’t raised out gate fees the last four or five years. Pretty much everybody’s prices have gone way up. We’re committed to keeping the price affordable for the community. The remaining $30,000 will help to provide what we are calling activities for non-swimmers. We have two brand new heavy-duty outdoor ping-pong tables, two outdoor foosball tables. We have bag toss and outdoor couches.”
Conner grew up swimming at Forest Park.
“I was a competitive swimmer growing up and worked as a lifeguard and managed the facility while attending Purdue in the summers,” the 2001 Noblesville High School graduate said. “Now, all my kids swim, so it’s come full circle.”
There are two main pools with an Olympic regulation pool of 50 meters.
“The foresight they had when they built this pool in the 1970s is pretty amazing,” Conner said. “The pool is also 25 yards wide, so you can swim short course, which is what we swim indoors in high school. It’s 50 meters long so it’s a long course. The diving pool, to our knowledge, is the last outdoor facility in Indiana that has an Olympic regulation diving platform. It has a 5-, 7- and 10-meter platform.”
Conner said more than 1,000 athletes are expected to participate in the 22nd annual Enchanted Forest Invitational July 8-10.
“It draws swimmers from all over the Midwest,” he said. “We’ve had teams from the past come from Canada.”
Conner said bleachers that can accommodate 1,500 people.
For more, visit forestparkpool.org.