Mt. Pleasant ‘blight’ grant turned down, but aquatic center thriving

Mt. Pleasant ‘blight’ grant turned

down, but aquatic center thriving


By James Tilson

Staff writer

Mar. 22, 2018


MT. PLEASANT—The Mt. Pleasant city council heard updates on its infrastructure funding applications and on the new aquatic center’s usage.

At the council meeting held on Tuesday, March 13, in Mt. Pleasant, the council first heard from Monte Bona, Community Development and Renewal Agency (CDRA) executive chairman, about the applications.

Bona announced to the council the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application had been turned down.

The city had planned to use the grant “to overcome blight” in certain parts of the city, most specifically the Aspen Village mobile home park along 300 East.

Although the city did not get the grant, Bona said the application was “ranked high.”       Also, a private developer involved with the application may still be willing to proceed if the Six County Association of Governments (SCAOG) sent a “letter of support” for the project.

Since the application ranked so well, the city may resubmit it next year.

Councilman Justin Atkinson warned the council to not put great reliance on the SCAOG providing very much funding. He said the SCAOG only has $500,000 a year to disburse over its entire region.

Bona went on to inform the council the final Economic Development Agency (EDA) application is to be submitted on Friday, March 16.

The application is to fund an infrastructure project in the industrial park, allowing easier ingress and egress for semi-tractor/trailer loads.

The total project would cost $487,625, with the grant supplying $341,337.50. That would leave the city to provide $146,287.50 in matching funds.

Britanny Adams, director of the Mt. Pleasant Aquatic Center, presented a proposal for an incentive program aimed at youth to use the pool.

Adams called the program a “read and swim” club. Essentially, the program would award children that brought in proof of reading a certain number of books per week to have a free day of swimming.

Bona asked Adams if it were possible to have a program in place so use of the splash pad remains free.

Adams replied the pool staff has been thinking of several options on how to do that or to have a different fee schedule for the splash pad.

Atkinson said he had “gone back and forth” on the issue, balancing the need for maintenance versus availability for low-income families. He still had not made up his mind.

Councilman Kevin Stallings, supporting free admission for the splash pad, said the history of the splash pad’s use suggested to him “free is good.”

Bona pointed out how well the aquatic center had been doing from a revenue standpoint.

He said, “I understand our pool took in, in two months, as much as the Gunnison pool has all year.”

David Oxman, the city’s financial director, said the pool is taking in approximately $4,000 per week and a little over $40,000 for the year since Jan. 1.

Stallings spoke highly of how well he thought the aquatic center’s staff had managed the pool since its opening. “It is clean, it is fun. That pool is just fun,” he said, “I’m totally impressed.”

Regarding a grand-opening event, Adams said she had been hoping to put on a big summer kickoff opening day sometime around Memorial Day or Scandinavian Heritage Days.