Its name is pronounced like that of a certain
wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood, but Bellaire, Texas, is less
flash, more family.
That lifestyle is represented in the Bellaire Town Square Family
Aquatic Center, which is attracting sizable crowds of parents,
children and seniors seeking healthy leisure activities.
Almost completely surrounded by Houston on all sides, Bellaire is
certainly not at a loss for entertainment — movies, museums,
theater and professional sports are at locals’ fingertips.
But in a state with a large overweight population, there’s a
need for fun that requires more energy than sitting for two hours
or walking from a parking garage.
Bellaire recognized that and poured its resources into building its
aquatic center, which just officially opened in May 2008. Featuring
a six-lane, heated competition pool; a zero-depth entry leisure
pool; water slide; two diving wells; three diving boards; an
interactive play structure; and, quite possibly, the world’s
cutest frog-shaped mini-water slide, the aquatic center is part of
the $3 million Center Point Energy Community Center.
In addition to the waterfeatures, the community center has
bathhouses, offices and a meeting area. Families can take advantage
of the facilities for a $200 membership fee that provides access to
the park from May 4 to Sept. 30.
The aquatic center replaced a 50-year-old pool. Attendance and
revenue at the new facility, compared with the aging pool, has been
explosive. More than 300 individuals have signed up for
learn-to-swim classes — and water aerobics and lifesaving
courses are netting good numbers as well.
With activities and kid-friendly features that weren’t
previously available, Bellaire’s new aquatic center is
attracting people who had never thought of dipping a toe in the
water. — Neal Broverman