URBANA — Future Urbana outdoor pool users are invited to vote for one of two ideas for themes for the outdoor aquatic center that is scheduled to open in a little more than a year at Crystal Lake Park.
The choices for the in-water play structure that will be in the center of the aquatic center are a forest theme or a treehouse theme. Online voting will be open at http://www.urbanaparks.org/features/1163.html  for about three more weeks, said Corky Emberson, superintendent of recreation at the Urbana Park District.
The early favorite, according to votes cast by students in the after-school programs at Urbana public schools, is the treehouse theme, Emberson said.
"We did a brainstorming activity among our staff and came up with a few ideas that we took to the (pool design firm) Counsilman-Hunsaker," Emberson said. "We wanted the themes to reflect either something with trees and the forest or the prairie, since Urbana is such a nature-type community."
Voting on the themes has to be wrapped up fairly quickly, Emberson said, because the park district hopes to put the entire $7.7 million project out for construction bids by late June or early July. There is no difference in cost between the forest and treehouse themes, Enberson said. Both would include a tube slide, a large dump bucket and sprays.
The pool's theme would be most focused at the play structure in the middle of the facility's recreational pool, Emberson said, but it also would be incorporated into other parts of the aquatic center, including such things as flowers, plantings and colors.
"For example, we haven't chosen the color of the roof of the bathhouse yet. That's something we want to coordinate," he said. "We hope to have a general theme throughout the facility.
"We're comfortable with either of these themes so the outcome is something we'll be happy to present and use."
Before the aquatic center project can be released for bid, its design and features still must have the approval of the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The park district also is awaiting word on whether it will receive a $400,000 state grant to pay for a streambed feature at the aquatic center.