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CARD Moves Forward to Implement New Aquatics Recreation Center

March 30, 2023

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Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) took a significant step Wednesday night toward the implementation of a new, state-of-the-art aquatics center, which would be located adjacent to the Butte Humane Society in North Chico. The CARD Board of Directors voted unanimously to enter the design phase primarily due to a generous land donation from local philanthropists Ken Grossman and Katie Gonser.

“Katie and I are pleased and excited that the old Sunset Hills Golf Course is having a new beginning and can help fill two beneficial community needs with the recently completed Butte Humane Society facility and now the much-needed aquatics center," said Sierra Nevada Brewing Company founder Ken Grossman. "Although it’s taken several years to come to fruition, we felt this property in North Chico was best suited for projects that help build and sustain our community. We commend CARD for their commitment to the future recreational needs of our growing community, and we are excited and are thankful we could help facilitate this.”

With infamous hot Chico summers and regional interest in aquatic activities, CARD staff and stakeholders are planning for a fun, affordable, and modern aquatics experience. This project was first introduced in 2013, and in 2016 a feasibility study for a new aquatics center was conducted. The assessment looked at demographics, market trends, corresponding future needs for aquatic services, and the program options to meet these needs. At the October 2022 CARD board meeting, its Board of Directors authorized the solicitation of proposals for the concept, design, and bid package of a swim and recreation complex. 

"Quality of life has a different meaning to each individual. There are many people in our community who believe an updated aquatics center would improve their quality of life," said CARD board member Tom Lando. "Thanks to CARD general manager Annabel Grimm, the District is moving toward that goal."

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to deliver a much needed and well-deserved recreational gem to our community,” said general manager Annabel Grimm. “I am grateful to our Board of Directors for their guidance and support as we champion a modern aquatics experience that will transform not only Chico but regional recreation and water safety for the foreseeable future.”

The tentative budget of $20 million for the aquatics center is a life-changing investment in the city of Chico. The new aquatics center will include a range of features that meet the diverse needs of the Chico community with amenities and programming for all ages, ranges of health, levels of experience, and serve a variety of recreational interests, including aquatics sports programs.

Chico is the cultural and economic center of the northern Sacramento Valley, as well as the largest city in California north of the Capital, with approximately 102,000 residents. The new state-of-the-art aquatics center will create a hub of new recreational opportunities and greatly serve the entire city of Chico and surrounding areas.

The new aquatics center is expected to open in the fall of 2025.

For more information follow CARD on Facebook and @ChicoRec on Instagram.



About Chico Area Recreation and Park District

Founded in 1948, the Chico Area Recreation and Park District (CARD) is a California Special District focused on creating recreational opportunities that bring friends and families together to have fun and build lasting memories. CARD manages and cares for more than 12 community and neighborhood parks, four community centers, one swimming pool, the Chico Creek Nature Center, and other facilities. The PLAY Activity Guide highlights the numerous sports, classes, camps, special events, and more CARD offers. Learn more about CARD at