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The Sanpete Messenger

After 20 year effort, Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center to open January 1

Nicole Day (left), head lifeguard at the Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center, and Britanny Adams, North Sanpete High swim coach and pool manager at the Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center, work to prepare the city’s pool for its first day open to the public, which will be Jan. 1, 2018. On that day, everyone gets to swim for free, and other activities that day will also celebrate the pool’s opening.

 

After 20 year effort, Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center to open January 1

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing Editor

Dec. 21, 2017

 

MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center is opening its doors next year to the public.

After raising nearly $5 million from more than two decades of community fundraising, grants, loans and the passing of a voter-supported tax, the Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center is opening its doors to the public soon and has already held one local swim meet.

The pool’s fee schedule has been finalized, and on Jan. 1 the aquatic center will hold their New Year pool opening event, with free swimming from noon-10 p.m. and free water aerobics classes from 1-1:30 p.m. and again from 7-7:30 p.m.

On that day, a raffle also will be held for prizes—including a one-year membership to the aquatic center.

The pool also had its first swim meet, where Wasatch Academy, Carbon, Gunnison Valley and North Sanpete high schools engaged in competitive swimming, said Britanny Adams, North Sanpete High School swim coach and aquatic center manager.

Adams said they will be holding another swim meet at the pool on Jan. 16, 2018.

The aquatic center has been in the works for a long time. More than 20 years of community fundraising efforts brought $2.5 million to the table. Utah’s Permanent Community Impact Fund Board contributed $2 million in funding in the form of a grant and low-interest loan.

The North Sanpete School District donated the land for the aquatic center, which is located at 44 S. 100 East, on the old Mt. Pleasant Elementary School grounds.

Branch Cox, owner of MKJ Construction of Fairview, agreed to donate roughly $300,000 worth of excavation and site work. A significant amount of additional money has been raised from private donations.

A big chunk of the community stood to gain from the pool’s construction, but more funding was needed to keep it running year round.

Thus Proposition 7 was born—a ballot referendum that Mt. Pleasant residents voted into place which tacked 2.25 percent on to local electricity and natural gas bills. The city estimated that the franchise fee would bring in $105,000 per year to pay to keep the pool open all year.

In an information pamphlet released about Proposition 7, the Mt. Pleasant City Main Street Committee wrote, “For more than 20 years, citizens of Mt. Pleasant contributed to a fund to build a new swimming pool, based solely on the hope that someday that dream would come true.

“The lack of a modern, enclosed, year-round swimming pool facility has deprived our children of the opportunity to have swimming lessons in their own community, deprived both the North Sanpete High School and Wasatch Academy of the opportunity to have a pool for competitive swim teams, deprived senior citizens of the opportunity to have low-impact water therapy exercise programs close to home, and deprived families of the opportunity to have water recreation on a regular basis year round without having to drive to some distant facility.”

Proposition 7 passed with strong support of the community residents, with 72.48 percent of Mt. Pleasant’s voting population in favor of the referendum.

An added bonus for the aquatic center’s budget was that with Proposition 7 passing and the pool capable of running all year, Wasatch Academy committed an extra $30,000 per year toward the pool for the benefit the school’s students would receive from access to the pool.

Everything seemed like it was falling into place until a snag arose from a disagreement between the school district and Mt. Pleasant City about whether the school district would contribute money toward the pool’s operating and maintenance cost, like the city and Wasatch Academy both committed too.

The city believes the school district should not get off the hook on operating costs for simply donating the land for the center, which will only have an effective lifespan of 50 years, and then the land will go back to the district.

The North Sanpete School District disagrees.

Although the disagreement still has yet to be ironed out, Adams said things are making headway.

With the city’s long-term financial analysis of the aquatic center completed and the pool fees decided upon, the community can enjoy its pool for the first time on Jan. 1.