Abilene's first splash pad is set to open soon. And while plenty of people are excited about the splash pad, it has led others to ask why the biggest city in the Big Country doesn't have a larger scale family friendly venue.
Abigail Lopez and her four kids aren't offended when you call them pool junkies. This summer they've driven to Brownwood, Eastland, Stephenville and now Albany to enjoy something Abilene doesn't have -- a water park.
"How can a smaller town afford that and a bigger town not be able to afford that?" asked Lopez.
Lopez and her kids have tried out Abilene's public pools. She said there's just no comparison to what others have invested.
"In order for a community to thrive, for us and Abilene as a town to thrive, there are those that have to give a little more for those who don't have that little more to give, to benefit the whole community...you'll get it back," said Lopez.
KTXS wanted to know, with local families like Lopez's leaving town for water parks, is Abilene losing out on tourism dollars?
"There's definitely a quality of life issue, I feel like if we had one, not only would locals enjoy it, but other families. as far as tourism dollars, I'm not sure how big the impact would be because our main focus is to get heads in beds and fill up hotels," said Trish Dressen, director of communication at the Abilene Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Dressen said unless visitors spend the night it's hard to calculate a hard dollar amount gained from a potential water park, something that's usually just a day trip.
"The question is, do the people of Abilene want us to use tax money to build a water park?" said Abilene City Councilman Joe Spano.
Spano has been a proponent of the project. He was preparing to bring it up with city council before the economic downturn re-adjusted everyone's focus.
Spano said the city is still catching up on more pressing expenses.
"You know the short answer is there are other priorities now but if the people of Abilene wanted to do it, I'm all for it. Let's also encourage if there are private companies, individuals, who want to do a partnership with the city, I think we could talk about that," said Spano.
It's a partnership Lopez said will definitely pay off.
"Families would definitely come to Abilene and I know we would see the revenue in no time," said Lopez.