‘Finally!’ City, swimmers break ground on aquatic center
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The first shovelfuls of dirt were pitched Monday to make way for the city’s new aquatic center.
“Finally!” City Councilman Dan Richardson said as he and his fellow council members donned hard hats and grabbed the city’s ceremonial shovels.
After the formal groundbreaking, swim coach Patty Schaffner suggested that Sopris Barracudas and Glenwood Springs High School swim team members grab the shovels for their own simulated groundbreaking.
The $3.5 million aquatic center is scheduled to be open by November. Once the $1.1 million in money pledged by local families, businesses, grants and fund-raisers comes in, the remaining $2.4 million will be provided by the city ” unless more money is pledged, that is.
“The fund-raising campaign is ongoing, there’s still more funds to raise,” aquatic center fund-raising chairwoman Terri Miller said. “The campaign will continue to take new donations during construction.”
With his silver spade sparkling in the noonday sun, Mayor Larry Emery said Monday was a “proud day for Glenwood Springs.”
“It’s really been a great effort from a large amount of people,” Emery said. “We’re going to throw some dirt and we’re going to build a pool.”
“I think it’s obvious that people want it,” Richardson added. “I think this is a perfect example of the community coming together and sending the message that this is what they want. … They put their money where their mouth is.”
Key Construction of Parker won the contract to build the pool. The company’s progress will be visible to area residents as they drive along West Midland Avenue.
The aquatic center will be built on the east side of the Community Center, right next to the gymnasium wall. It will include a pool suitable for different types of aquatic competition, a leisure pool for the kids, a hot tub and a “cardio balcony” above the pool that will overlook both the pool and the gym.
In addition to the cold, hard ground that was broken Monday, Miller received $25,000 in cold, hard cash ” actually a check ” from Alpine Bank.
“They’re turning their pledge into cash, and that’s what we’re encouraging people to do,” Miller said. The donations are tax deductible.
Miller was the driving force behind the Let’s All Pledge, or LAP, campaign to collect funds to build the pool. The effort has garnered $1.1 million in pledges, at least $225,000 of which had been collected as of Monday.
Sopris Barracudas swim team coach Howard Jay said after 18 years of coaching, he and the high school club team are looking forward to hosting a swim competition.
Also, there was a group of girls present at the groundbreaking Monday from the Glenwood Springs High School club swim team. Miller and Howard said the Barracudas and the high school club team are looking forward to hosting a swim competition during its 2004-2005 season.
“It’s real exciting to have a competition so people can see our youngsters swim,” Howard said.
The cheering crowd escaped the chilly January temperatures for a hot cup of homemade chili and a soda inside the Community Center after the groundbreaking was over.
City manager Mike Copp said it’s good to see the project finally begin.
“It’s just great that we’re going to get this thing going,” he said. “With the second phase of the Community Center, along with the tennis courts, we’re going to have a real facility.”
Contact Greg Masse: 945-8515, ext. 511
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