Swimmers headed to the pools at the Freedom Springs Aquatic Center could have warmer water to jump into when a new ice rink is built next door.
The proposed ice rink complex planned to be built on 6 acres in Freedom Park, directly south of Freedom Springs could be used to heat pools at Greenwood’s water park, getting more people to visit in cooler weather and possibly extending the swimming season, officials said.
The $20 million, 115,000-square-foot Greenwood Iceplex could share the extra heat it generates from cooling its two to four ice rinks free of charge, said Sean Hallett, co-owner of Indy Fuel who plans to develop the facility.
This arrangement, which has been done in other communities, would enable the pool to keep its water warmer and potentially extend its swimming season, he said. For example, ice rinks in Michigan and Colorado have used the heat generated through the refrigerating process to warm the water in nearby pools.
While the heat would be transferred for free, the city will still have to pay for the necessary piping or other infrastructure to bring it to the aquatic center.
The city is starting discussions about what it would take to set up the heat transfer, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. How much that infrastructure would cost and how that would be funded isn’t known yet, he said.
“I would absolutely love to see that happen, because if we can heat the water and at least the lap pool, that would get more people coming in and using the lap pool for exercise purposes,” Myers said.
Myers sees it as another opportunity to enhance swimmers’ experience at the pool.
“People don’t want to jump in cold water,” he said.
The pool, which is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, relies on the sun to heat its water. In the middle of summer, pool temperatures will reach about 80 degrees. By bringing in a heating system, Freedom Springs could hit those temperatures sooner, open earlier in the year or stay open later, Greenwood Parks and Recreation Director Rob Taggart said.
“It is a great, green re-usable energy resource,” he said. “It’s smart and clever when you can harness a byproduct energy source and put it to use for something else.”