City Dedicates the Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center

Articles Sister City 05-20-06

New Municipal Pool Stands for Friendship and is named for German Town

On Saturday, May 20, the City of Arlington formally dedicated its newest family aquatic center and celebrated a relationship that started 55 years ago with a small town in West Germany.

A dedication ceremony for the new Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center began at 10 a.m. Saturday, and included Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, District 2 City Council member Sheri Capehart, members of the Arlington City Council and the Parks Board. A German delegation of 26 residents, including Bad Königshofen Mayor Clemens Behr, also attended.

The new pool is located at 2800 W. Sublett Road inside of S.J. Stovall Park and is the city’s first municipal pool south of Interstate 20. The dedication is open to the public. Following the ceremony, pool gates will open for a preview and public swim until 5 p.m.

In Arlington, the 2006 summer swim season officially begins Friday, May 26, when all six municipal outdoor family swim centers open. For operating hours and locations, call the Arlington Parks and Recreation Department at 817-459-5474.

About the Pool

In a 1997 Park Bond Election, Arlington voters authorized funding for the design and construction of the new pool. Construction started in 2005.

The new Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center incorporates many unique features designed to resemble the agrarian style of the small region of Germany. The European theme is evident in the clock tower, large wooden columns and overall design. The center has an interactive spray pad, shallow water play pool, 25 meter four-lane swimming pool, a one-meter diving board, two water slides, pavilions, restrooms and showers. The center will offer swim lessons and can be reserved for birthday parties and rentals for special occasions. For more information about the pool, call 817-459-5223 and download the Aquatics Brochure, which can be found under the Online Publications section of the web page.

How the Friendship with Bad Königshofen Began

Arlington’s relationship with Bad Königshofen began in the summer of 1951, when the German town manager (Kurt Zuhlke) visited Arlington at the end of a study tour of the United States. Local historians say the town manager made an unscheduled stop in the city because a German tour participant had a pen pal in Arlington. Through this pen pal relationship, the town manager had an opportunity to meet and visit with then Arlington Mayor Tom Vandergriff.

During their meeting, the visiting town manager told Vandergriff about the difficulties his town was facing because of its location at the border between west and east Germany. He said hundreds of people from the communist east had overwhelmed his small German town, and there was a shortage of food and clothing.

Moved by the plight of the town, Mayor Vandergriff and the Arlington Chamber of Commerce coordinated a community drive to collect food, clothing and gifts. In 1952, the first of four railroad boxcar shipments left Arlington for Bad Königshofen.

Expressions of thanks from German residents showed that the assistance from Arlington was more than food and clothing, but a true sign of friendship, which residents have continued to recognize and celebrate.

Bad Königshofen has a recreational park named for Arlington. A 12-foot stainless steel International Peace and Friendship Monument stands in a downtown Arlington park across from City Hall. The monument was completed during the summer of 2003 by Arlington sculptors and visiting artists from Germany.

“The Bad Königshofen Family Aquatic Center is our most recent tribute to a relationship that has evolved into a friendship that will continue forever,” said Mayor Robert Cluck.

Interview and Photo Opportunities

Immediately following the 10 a.m. dedication at the pool – 2800 W. Sublett Road – 76017

German Mayor, translator, German news reporter and guests
Mayor Robert Cluck
City Council member Sheri Capehart
Parks Director Pete Jamieson
Parks Assistant Director Gordon Robertson
Parks Assistant Director Bill Gilmore