Where To House Olympic Pool Complex?

It's a tad early to think about but how about taking a dip in a 50-meter Olympic-sized pool?

We should see it, somewhere, in the next year or two.

A local group bought the practice pool at last year's Olympic Swim Trials here in Omaha.

The question is...where will it go?

Mike Cassling is part of the group that bought the warm-up pool used at the 2012 Olympic Swim Trials.

"We need to keep one of these pools here, not only as a legacy but for the need for the community," Cassling said. "The level of interest has been huge from swimmers, parents, community leaders."

They bought the pool for $1.1 million to create a swimming and tennis center patterned after a facility in Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond bought the pool used in the 2008 swim trials and is a similar sized city as Omaha with similar demographics.

Now with the pool safely in storage, comes the dilemma.

"We did kind of the egg before the chicken or however that goes before that because we literally went and committed to buying the pool before we even knew what we were going to do," Cassling said.

Cassling said Bellevue, Ralston, LaVista, Gretna and Elkhorn are all offering a home for the facility.

The pool and half of the 18 tennis courts will be in an enclosed structure, maybe a dome like the one at Chili Greens near 66th and Spring Street, another possible location.

Someone even suggested locating it at the Civic Auditorium site at 19th and Capital Ave.

Both Chili Greens and The Civic Auditorium would need to be torn down if those locations were selected.

Cassling said ten acres are needed for the complex and it should cost from $5 to $10 million to build, if the land is donated.

It would be built with private funds and be completely self-sustainable after completion.

Cassling said the facility would propel Omaha to a new status as a sports town.

"The focus is to do it for all ages from the kids who can't swim or play tennis up to the next generation who want to go to the Olympics," he said.

Cassling said the hope is to hold regional and national swimming and tennis events here in Omaha.

The location should be determined by late May, once all proposals are analyzed.

Proximity to dining and hotels is a big factor.

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