Henry County commissioners approved site selection for the county’s upcoming aquatic center during their March 9 meeting. Commissioners opted to build in the Bridges at Jodeco development off I-75.
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The site selection is dependent on the owner donating the land within sixty days, and an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Stockbridge. The property is within city limits, but Henry County will own and operate the venue similar to several county-owned parks.
O’Neal Edwards Aquatic Center
During board discussion, commissioners selected to name the building O’Neal Edwards Aquatic Center after two community leaders who passed away in recent months. They also named the future outdoor play area after Kensley Grace.
Pastor Spencer T. O’Neal served as lead pastor of Global Impact Christian Ministries in Stockbridge, GA. He founded the church in August 2006 and led the ministry until his passing on January 11, 2021.
Mr. Eugene Edwards served as President of the Henry County NAACP from January 2008 to December 2018. Edwards and his wife, school board member Annette Edwards, were married for nearly 55 years. He passed away on February 6, 2021.
Five-year-old Kensley Grace Kirby passed away in 2011. Shortly thereafter, the Kensley Grace Foundation was founded to advocate and pursue building an aquatic center in Henry County. Many credit the Kensley Grace Foundation with starting the community push that led Henry County to budget funds for an aquatic center.
About the Project
Henry County is modeling the aquatic center after a similar venue in Cherokee County. The project is expected to include the following:
- an indoor 50-meter competition pool,
- a 45-foot by 75-foot instructional / therapy pool, and
- a moderately sized outdoor water park.
Parking needs include 300 spaces for regular use and another 300 spaces for large events.
Henry County estimates construction will take two to three years to complete. Following site selection, the county’s next step is to bid out design.
The county budgeted $22 million dollars to build the venue. SPLOST V is funding its construction. Program tax collections started April 1, 2020 and last until March 2025.
Featured image shows the Cherokee County Aquatic Center. Credit to Cooper Carry.