SHOREVIEW — In honor of the Shoreview Community Center’s 20th anniversary, the city will offer special events this weekend. A “Dive’n Movie” event is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 at Tropics Indoor Waterpark; “Finding Nemo” will be shown at 7 p.m. On Saturday, pool and playground admission will cost only $2 to $3 for youth or $3 to $4 for adults. Free offerings include a bounce house, games, crafts, balloon animals, face painting and prizes.
Mayor Sandy Martin noted in her April State of the City Address that the center has surpassed expectations since it was established in 1990, now attracting upwards of half a million people per year. Its features now include a 10,000-square-foot fitness center, conference/banquet rooms that can accomodate up to 300 people, and a childcare center in addition to its waterpark and indoor playground.
Prior to its opening, according to Shoreview Historical Society President Jacci Krebsbach, the only central community gathering place was the Shoreview Roller Rink at Highways 49 and 96 where Rainbow Foods now stands.
In 1989 when the city broke ground on the $8 million center, which featured a swimming pool and 210-foot spiral slide, it was projected that 100,000 people would use the facilities in its first year. By 1991 it had already broken the 200,000-users-per-year mark.
Since then the city has added several features and rejected several other ideas for improvements like and other establishments.
In 1996 it considered adding an outdoor water park, according to the Pioneer Press. A proposal called for a $1.3 million to $1.5 million “outdoor wonderland” that included a walk-in beach, a tubing slide, a play area with slides and tire swings, a deck and a sand play area with volleyball facilities.
In 2003 the city went ahead with $5.5 million in improvements to the center. In 2008, it replaced the roof over City Hall and the Community Center, including the sloped roof over the pool.
The latest addition has been the $186,000 Tropical Adventure Indoor Playground installed last spring. The playground can accomodate 200 children at a time, generates revenues of some $100,000 a year and should pay for itself by the end of next year.
Outside the center, the city also renovated the center’s outdoor skate park last spring, spending about $99,000 on two quarter pipes, a half pipe, a “FunBox,” a new stair and rail ramp. Originally built in 1999 for about $35,000, the skate park draws between 30 and 40 people each day, Martin estimated last year.
This summer the city spent $47,050 on a high-tech light and sound system for its largest pool slide; it allows park attendees to choose a song using a computerized touch screen at the top of the slide.
“We try to do something new and exciting every year if we can,” noted City Manager Terry Schwerm of the water park. “It’s our Valley Fair in terms of adding features.” you can even buy Girls Swimwear.
Martin said the City Council has been pleased that admission costs for the center have stayed reasonable through the years.
“If you look at the private sector, it’s quite remarkable how much less we are,” she said. “Among community centers, we’re still lower than any others, and we want to be competitive with them even though our product is superior in many, many ways.”