KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Even on cold days, the Kingsport Aquatic Center is busy with people swimming at the indoor pool.
The facility opened in May 2013, and it's already exceeding expectations and attendance records; however, it's coming at a cost to the city.
Kingsport is paying about $300,000 a year to help pay operating costs. "It's just like when you build a park, you have certain expenses and you don't expect to get those back," says City Manager John Campbell.
Campbell says Kingsport will be paying that amount for the foreseeable future, but he says it's well worth the cost. "By far, no question. The direct and indirect revenue alone is almost equal to that difference," he said.
Campbell says the facility has held more than 200 birthday parties, will host a dozen swim meets, and welcomes people from out of town that stay in area hotels and eat at local restaurants.
"It means a lot to the community. I think first and foremost we knew we had a great need for swimming activities for multi-generations," says Campbell.
Since opening in May 2013, the facility has welcomed more guests than expected. They planned for 150,000 and have nearly hit that number already, with several months left to go before the one year mark.
We're told the Kingsport Aquatic Center outdoor facility will open sometime in May. The city also plans to add new features to continue to drive up attendance.