Natomas Community Pool: A Dream Come True

Former Natomas resident Taylor Wells holds up a rending of the North Natomas Community Center and Aquatics Complex at the construction site.  / Photo

THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz

Seven years after speaking before the Sacramento City Council, Taylor Wells’s proposal for a community center and pool in north Natomas will soon be a reality.

“Every time that I drive by, I get so excited because I cannot wait to be able to go,” said Wells, 22, via video call from her home in Fairfax, Calif.

Wells grew up in Natomas and attended local schools.

In 2014,  Wells applied for the Summer @ City Hall program at the urging of her teachers at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep High School and those she worked with as a volunteer at the Front Street Animal Shelter.

Wells and eight other area students who lived in city council District 1 were accepted to the program and offered internships in Councilmember Angelique Ashby’s office.

“I didn’t think I even had a chance getting into the program, but when they told me I got in, the excitement I felt!” recalled Wells, who was a high school junior at the time.

Summer @ City Hall is a program for high school sophomores and juniors. It includes a 42-hour internship, six weeks of classes on community impact and advocacy, life skills workshops, high school elective credits and the chance to create a service-learning project which could benefit students’ communities.

Wells said program participants were asked to group up, identify a problem in their community as well as a solution to that problem.

Plans for the community center and aquatics center guided construction in May 2021. / Photo

When she and the other interns met with Ashby, they talked about how north Natomas did not have an accessible public pool. That discussion led to their project which became the foundation for the North Natomas Community Center and Aquatics Complex now under construction on New Market Drive.

“We thought it was ridiculous that there was no way for a person in North Natomas, who couldn’t drive, to get (to a public pool) safely,” said Wells.

The students wrote a proposal, created 3D models digitally and conducted surveys asking north Natomas residents what they thought about a community center and pool. At the end of summer, they presented their idea to the Sacramento City Council.

“It was daunting, but everyone on the council was so kind and excited,” said Wells.

Five years after the group presented to then-councilmembers, funding for the $45 million community center and aquatics complex project was approved by city officials in August 2019. Wells and her group’s proposal and research identified the need for a community center and pool in north Natomas along with the basic design concept and a location.

“Every kid should have that moment of confidence building in their advocacy,” said Wells. “If more kids knew how, when, and why to advocate we’d have a more comprehensive society. Kids would have more interest in politics.”

The project broke ground the following month in the North Natomas Regional Park and is anticipated to be at least partially complete by September 2021. The project consists of a community center with meeting rooms as well as a 50-meter Olympic-size competition pool, shaded bleachers, a 25-meter recreation pool, a zero-entry activity pool with a children’s water park, splash pad and water slides.

After Summer @ City Hall ended, Wells and Bisman Bhatti, one of the other interns, continued to work with Ashby’s office as part of their high school senior projects. They collected more survey responses, managed social media accounts and promoted the aquatics complex to the public.

Wells graduated from Natomas Pacific Prep Pathways High School in 2016 and went on to study biology at Dominican University of California. She graduated in May 2020 and currently works as a veterinary technician in Marin, Calif.

For a time after Wells left Natomas to go to college, the aquatics complex project fell off her radar. But recently she’s been following its progress via social media.

“My mom tags me on everything related to the aquatic center,” said Wells. “It’s really been amazing watching it become something from an idea.”

Wells said she can’t wait to check out the new North Natomas Community Center and Aquatics Complex when it opens to the public.

“It’s almost nostalgic the way it feels now, getting to look back and think about how long ago we talked about it,” said Wells. “It feels like a little dream came true.”

*Brandy Tuzon Boyd contributed to this report.

Aerial photograph of the North Natomas Community Center and Aquatics Center construction site taken in May 2021. / Photo courtesy Sac Valley Media

Interior photograph of the Natomas Natomas Community Center construction taken in May 2021. / Photo


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