Triangle Aquatic Center, a nonprofit public aquatic facility, has an ambitious vision to expand on its 21.5-acre campus near Cary Towne Center, including the possible addition of a national diving training center.
Representatives from U.S.A. Diving, a nonprofit that trains teams to represent the country in major events like the Olympics, visited TAC last week for preliminary discussions and a site visit. Cary town staff, council members and chamber of commerce leaders attended parts of the visit.
This preliminary plan is part of a much larger plan for TAC, which soon will enter its second decade. The $22.5 million aquatic facility, which opened in October 2007, serves 420,000 visitors per year and provides about $5 million in annual economic benefits to Wake County, said Mike Curran, TAC’s president.
“The first 10 years was about getting the facility productive and financially stable, and we’ve done that,” Curran said Monday.
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The 10-year plan includes adding a diving training center and one or two 50-meter pools and expanding the spectator space, administrative area and parking lot. It also could include an outdoor recreation area, but Curran said the diving training center is the current priority.
The training facility would allow TAC to host regional, state and national diving events, as well as providing a place for local divers and teams to practice and compete, Curran said. He said he knew of some local teams that had to drive to Greensboro to use its aquatic center, as well as some high school teams that had difficulty finding space for practice.
“Diving events bring in a tremendous amount of out-of-town divers,” Curran said.
The next step is to move forward with the design of the training facility, which TAC leaders hope will be complete by the end of June, Curran said.
“As soon as we have the design done, then we are able to figure out what the costs are and then we figure out where the money is going to come from,” he said.
TAC will likely submit plans to the Town of Cary for its expanded spectator space and administrative area in the next year or two. The aquatic center also is working with CBL & Associates Properties, the owner of Cary Towne Center, on a long-term parking solution.
Although discussions are preliminary, Cary Town Council members said they’re hopeful that the town will one day see a national diving training center.
“Everything we do in the town is about enhancing our quality of life, so I think if it happens it will be a great addition,” councilwoman Lori Bush said. “It would be an amazing opportunity to continue our world class facilities for amateur sports.”
Cary already has WakeMed Soccer Park, with a cross-country track, and the U.S.A. Baseball National Training Complex.
The project also could encourage additional investment at the Cary Towne Center, Bush said, which has been the focus of the town’s attention as the mall’s tenants have shifted and anchor stores have closed.
“It could be an incredible shot in the arm for the whole Cary Towne mall area, and it could hopefully inject some interest in the rest of the community to invest in that area,” she said.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608: @KTrogdon