The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park opened in May. Photo by Jay Simon | Ten Ten Creative.

The residents of Cedar Hill, a town of 49,000 on the southern tip of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, were treated to a wet and wonderful Memorial Day weekend. The holiday marked the grand opening of The Lagoon, a cozy water park situated in Virginia Weaver Park. Five hundred visitors of all ages descended on The Lagoon on Saturday, testing out the lazy river, the “three-turn” waterslide, and a spacious splash pad.

“We are absolutely excited about it as a community,” says Michelle Ebanks, the city’s communications and community engagement manager. “I mean, there’s something for everyone.”

The Lagoon is a major upgrade from what was formerly the city’s sole swimming option, an aging structure that was built in 1976 in nearby Crawford Park. Residents approved a bond measure in 2017 to replace the pool, giving city officials input on which features they’d most like to see in the new pool. With funding secured, groundbreaking on The Lagoon occurred in May 2022.

Where the Community Pools Are

Cedar Hill
The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park
Address:
631 Somerset Drive
Phone: (972) 291-5318
Daily Admission: $8
The new aquatics center features slides, a lazy river, and splash pad. 

Comanche
City Pool
Address:
Comanche Trail Road
Phone: (325) 356-3645
Daily Pass: $4
Guests can enjoy the freshly renovated Olympic-size pool.

Bayou Vista
City Pool
Address:
758C Neptune Drive
Phone: (409) 935-2714
Daily Admission: $10
The pool is located in the city’s park, where there’s also a pavilion and community center.

Littlefield
Aquatic Center
Address:
1503 Phelps Ave.
Phone: (806) 551-2033
Daily Admission: $3
The aquatics center offers slides, water basketball, and a diving board.

Cactus
Aquatic Park
Address:
600 North Drive
Phone: (806) 966-5987
Admission: $4 for adults, $3 for kids
This pool includes a collection of slides and kid-friendly play areas.

According to Ebanks, who was present for the Memorial Day opening, the large dump bucket inside the splash pad was a hit, making kids squeal with glee. Like any sensible adult, she prefers the slower pace of the lazy river to the other attractions. She noted that visitors who are feeling fancy can reserve a cabana to lounge in luxury. The Lagoon is also the city’s first outdoor facility to offer free, public Wi-Fi. A local company has been hired as concessionaire. The pool will be open through Aug. 12.

Completing major community improvement projects doesn’t come cheap—that’s where the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department comes in. In 2020, as part of a competitive grant program to assist initiatives at local parks, the agency awarded the city $750,000 to get The Lagoon off the ground. Cedar Hill was among the 30 cities and counties that were awarded grant money for park improvements that year. Several of those projects, including in the towns of Comanche and Bayou Vista, sought to improve swimming pools located in parks.

Since 2019, the department has helped fund 320 projects to acquire and develop public parks throughout the state to the tune of $79.5 million, data shows. The grant program dates to the 1970s, says Dan Reece, the program’s manager. He calls the initiative “an amazing thing to be a part of.” The Lagoon notwithstanding, Reece says he’s especially proud of two other recent pool projects that got help from the state. One of them, an aquatics center in Littlefield (45 miles northwest of Lubbock), welcomed a grateful public in the midst of a sweltering, drought-dusted summer. Also in 2022, the meatpacking town of Cactus, just north of Amarillo, opened a similar facility to rave reviews from summer revelers.

“We’ve seen some phenomenal pools and aquatic complexes the past few years,” Reece says. “I’ve heard from community members in those areas that have lived there all their lives and just never thought they would see the day that something like that would be built.”

Reece says he’s even had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of his labor firsthand. In Wimberly, where he lives, Reece makes it a point to visit Blue Hole Regional Park, which offers a forested swimming area on Cypress Creek. He noted that pool projects in small towns have not only created new recreational opportunities for the folks who live there—they also stand to draw visitors from elsewhere who want to join the fun.

“There’s certainly economic benefits to that for the community,” Reece says. “There’s some pride in some of those communities, too, that they are drawing people from other towns. It gives them a chance to show it off not only the the pool, but but their town as well.”

That’s definitely the case in Cedar Hill, which Ebanks describes as “a small town with a big heart.” She anticipates The Lagoon becoming a tourist draw that also serves as a gateway to the town’s other attractions: namely the nearby Cedar Hill State Park and Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center, which offers a first-rate wildlife experience. “So you could really do a full day here in Cedar Hill, or even a weekend,” she says. “This is a very special place.”

The October 2023 issue of Texas Highways "Tastes Like Home"

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