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Proposed Pepsi donation would fund slide at Mitchell’s aquatic center

MITCHELL, S.D. - Mitchell’s $8 million indoor aquatic center could be getting a big upgrade.

The Mitchell Parks and Recreation Board will hear a proposal Wednesday that, if approved, would bring a waterslide costing approximately $200,000 to the new facility, according to Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell.

“That’s what the Pepsi proposal is, to help us pay for the slide,” Powell said on Monday.

The proposal will ultimately require City Council approval at a special meeting planned for Monday, July 24, but it would provide Pepsi-Cola with exclusive beverage rights to the facility in return for a $200,000 agreement incentive. The incentive will support the waterslide that was kept out of the project as a cost-saving measure.

“We were looking for any ways that we could to fund that slide, this was just an opportunity that we found to get that funding,” Powell said.

The proposed agreement would be effective in January of 2018, making Wisconsin-based WP Beverages LLC the facility beverage supplier. WP Beverages has a distribution facility in Mitchell.

Under the agreement, WP Beverages would also provide the city with $20,000 upfront to support “the purchase of scoreboards and signage” for placement on the premises of the indoor aquatic center. But that doesn’t mean the city sold the naming rights to the building.

“We would have something recognizing them at the indoor aquatic center,” Powell said. “We’re not naming the aquatic center the Pepsi Center or anything.”

The proposal to add the slide comes after some Mitchell residents questioned why the slide was left out of the project. But after the city received bids for construction, it could not afford to built the slide within the $8 million approved by Mitchell voters.

Along with the slide, the facility will include both a competition and lap pool, as well as spectator seating and other features. It is expected to be completed in June 2018.

The Parks and Recreation Department has distribution agreements with Coca-Cola currently at the Cadwell Sports Complex and Mitchell Activities Center, Powell said, and those will continue to be honored until they expire. The Pepsi agreement would last until Dec. 31, 2029.

While there is nothing in the agreement stating the slide will be named after Pepsi, Powell said, he said the slide could be built in honor of Pepsi’s signature color.

“We’re probably going to get a blue slide, too,” Powell joked.