by Victor Lopez
EUNICE N.M.--The City of Eunice hasn't had their own pool for several years. With school out for the summer, the opening of the new Aquatic Center, couldn't have come at a better time.
"Our objective was to get it open this past weekend, on the holiday, and that, we managed to do," Eunice Mayor Matt White, said.
With a price tag of $2.5 million dollars, folks in Eunice have a new aquatic center to rival anyone else. "We feel like it's just one of a kind. They've got a nice big one in Hobbs and we feel like we're pretty comptetive with them," White explained.
The Aquatic Center has two giant water slides and a special kiddie feature designed just for this park. The old pool was over 50 years old and leaking and hadn't be used in almost 10 years. Private donations and the State of New Mexico helped pay for the new pool. White says the City Council chipped in too, "They came up with a million and a half dollars to complete the project. We just took that out of savings and out of the city budget to make that happen."
Nakita Pickerel and Nathan Contreras are lifeguards. They say they like their new workplace a lot. "It's cool being around the water all summer and not really having to be inside or outside doing hard labor," Pickerel said .
"It feels great to come out here, get wet, save lives, watch kids. It feels good," Contreras added.
But the pool isn't the only new site in town. Downtown Eunice is in the middle of a multi-million dollar renovation project. An excited Mayor White explains, "Now you're really getting on something I'm really proud of. The city manager and myself have really worked hard. We actually have a committee, a downtown committee that's helping us do that."
The Triangle was put in last year and the first two blocks of Downtown are already complete. Mayor White says they're ready to go forward with the rest of the project, "We're trying to come up with about 3 more million dollars to complete that. Hopefully, in the next 2-3 years, we'll have it all done."
While it has something to do with economic development, White added, the project is also about turning Downtown in a place to be proud of, "I actually have a great-grandson here now. We're about the 7th generation to live in town from our side. We're proud of it. We want to make it a place our kids and grandkids like to come back to."