The new $41.9-million facility will include a pool, running track, fitness areas, and a massive indoor field house.

Marijuana tax revenues will fully pay for a new $41.9-million recreation center for the City of Aurora. The city broke ground on the planned 62,000-square-foot recreation center, which is located at 25400 E. Alexander Drive in southeast Aurora, on February 18. The center is expected to be completed in early 2023.

The facility will sit on a 600-acre site west of the Aurora Reservoir that the city acquired from the federal government in 1984. The land has been designated for park and recreation use.

The groundbreaking was a closed ceremony without community members or media members in attendance due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the city said. A few members of local government, however, were able to attend the groundbreaking, including Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman; Aurora Mayor Pro Tem Francoise Bergan; Ward IV Council Member Juan Marcano; and Ward V Council Member Alison Coombs. Representatives from Populous, the project architecture firm, and Saunders Construction, the project general contractor were also on hand along with limited city staff from Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space, and Public Works.

Plans for the new facility include an indoor pool with waterslide, pool party rooms, a fitness area with 1,000 square feet of fitness turf, group exercise rooms, multipurpose community rooms, a gymnasium, a figure-8 running track, and a 20,000 square foot indoor field house.

The center will also house and display public art. The city's Art in Public Places Program selected Project One Studio of Indianapolis to develop an art installation called "Florescence" that will be integrated through the recreation center.

The project is the result of an extensive public input process launched in 2019 that resulted in almost 2,700 responses from members of the community about their vision for the recreation center. Planners incorporated feedback into both the external look and feel of the facility as well as the amenities.

The center will be the city's sixth recreation center and the second funded through recreational marijuana taxes. In 2019, the city opened Central Recreation Center at 18150 E. Vassar Place, the first recreation center it had built in 40 years, and a project that also was funded with marijuana tax dollars. 

As an Aurora resident, tell us in the comments which recreational center you enjoy the most and why.