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The Atlanta City Council is moving ahead with the planned construction of a natatorium in the Sweet Auburn area despite concerns the project has outgrown its original budget.

Council members voted 10-2 on Monday to spend $23.5 million to build the natatorium at Selena S. Butler Park. The natatorium is among a long list of projects being funded through the $250 million infrastructure bond Atlanta voters approved last year.

During a brief debate over the proposal, Councilman Alex Wan questioned the project’s cost by noting the original price tag had been listed as $17 million. With about $60 million of the infrastructure bond money earmarked for municipal building projects, he raised concerns that such a large increase in funds budgeted to the natatorium could affect plans for other items on the project list.

But Councilman Andre Dickens, chairman of the council’s Community Development/Human Resources Committee, said the additional $6.5 million needed to complete the natatorium will come from the parks department’s budget rather than out of the infrastructure bond.

Councilwoman Carla Smith urged her colleagues to move forward with the project because the city hasn’t had a natatorium in that neighborhood since a natatorium on Boulevard closed in 2012. Without a place to swim, children and adults have one fewer way to get exercise, she said.

“The sooner we do this, the healthier we will all be,” she said.

The city has hired Atlanta-based Winter Johnson Group to build the natatorium.

The resolution was sponsored by Councilman Kwanza Hall.

About Winter: Winter is a privately owned and operated Atlanta based general contracting company. We provide construction management services to clients in the hospitality, retail, government, higher education, K-12, corporate/office, religious, senior living, and multi-family markets in the Southeast. For more information visit: