FLORENCE, Ky. — There will be a summer season at the Florence Family Aquatic Center this year after the city council voted to amend its budget to keep it afloat.
The center had been temporarily closed since 2019, and in June 2021, there was a possibility no one would ever ride its water slides again. Mayor Diane Whalen said at the time the park never turned a profit.
"I think as much as much as we hate to say demolition, demolition could start this fall," Whalen said at the time.
Florence leaders were looking to turn the space into something that could be used year-round.
"It's sad to lose the pool, but I think sometimes when you look at an idea and say yes, this worked 20 years ago, what are the people looking for now?" Whalen said.
In June, the city sent a survey to homeowners hoping to figure out the park's future. It was at that point, the tide turned.
Jenna Kemper and several other residents advocated to save the center.
"Last summer, it stung really, really hard for so many of us," Kemper said. "We're super grateful that city council heard the voices of the community."
The council voted 4-2 in favor of funding the aquatic center this year. This summer, the chairs will be set up and the pools will be filled as residents slide into a new season.
"To see where this is going to be in a few years, it gives me so much hope," Kemper said. "They did the right thing. I'm thrilled — filled with joy."
The center will be hiring lifeguards, front desk workers and concessions employees for the upcoming season. The city plans to release more information when it is available.
"We still have a lot of work to understand how to market it better and how to manage it better, but we're willing and exciting that they're opening it back up this summer," said Kemper.