Gering resident aims to save Splash Arena

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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. Executive Director of the REACH Swim Academy, Florencio Palomo, located in Bronx, New York, has traveled down to Scottsbluff with a mission to facilitate the renovation of the Splash Arena.

Florencio Palomo is using his New York connections and resources to save the Splash Arena. Palomo is putting this together without taxpayer dollars. (KNEP)

Palomo nearly drowned as a child and was taught how to swim through the Splash Arena.

With the goal of everyone being exposed to aquatics, Palomo opened up his own aquatic center in New York geared to help special needs children.

With his program, he has taught over 500 special needs children how to swim.

Last February, a leak was discovered in the Splash Arena requiring it to close from Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regulations.

Palomo was in disbelief when he heard it closed.

“My first reaction was, ‘Oh it’s after Labor Day so it would be closed,” said Florencio Palomo, Executive Director. “I remember we had it closed down. We would clear the pool and empty the water. When we found out it was actually closing, I was in shock in almost disbelief. That’s impossible. It’s been around here forever. It’s iconic. You don’t talk about Scottsbluff High School without talking about splash.”

While being in Scottsbluff, Palomo has spoken to Scottsbluff Public Schools Board of Education, City of Scottsbluff, YMCA, Scottsbluff Schools Foundation Board, Scottsbluff Public Schools Facility and Maintenance, Baker and Associates, Splash Foundation and Seacats Swim Teach Coaching Staff.

Palomo says he’s received support from each of the organizations.

“I think of the lack of opportunities in the future that aren’t going to be there,” said Palomo. “For the community as a whole. For the community of not only Scottsbluff and Gering, but all the surrounding communities. Our special needs community who would travel when I use to be here from as far as Torrington to Cheyenne to our pool on the weekends.”

Palomo wants to add a swim team to attract scouts for swimmers to receive scholarships.

He wants to create jobs for special needs children and veterans.

The timetable of this project would depend on the community.

With the Splash Arena not being up to code, it would take a full renovation.

It will not be a stand-alone. It would be attached to the existing structure.

It would be added onto the old pool with land west of it. Palomo also wants to add an aquatic park.

Palomo will be asking his New York connections and resources for the funds so the taxpayers wouldn’t pay a cent.