Pool enthusiasts trying to lap up another $1.5 million by next summer | PostIndependent.com

Pool enthusiasts trying to lap up another $1.5 million by next summer

The push is on to raise another $1.5 million to build the long-sought lap and leisure pool at the Glenwood Springs Community Center.

“We are at the moment of truth,” said swim coach Howard Jay, the principal of Sopris Elementary School. “If you haven’t made a pledge, now is the time.”

Jay’s pitch came during a free lunch for 100 business and community leaders held at the Community Center Wednesday. It was hosted by the Let’s All Pledge pool fund-raising group and the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, and Mary Steinbrecher served as the master of ceremonies.

Pool supporters are hustling pledges and donations over the next few months in order to meet a no-more-extensions deadline set by the Glenwood Springs City Council. The $750,000 in tax-funded bonds the city has directed to the pool must be spent by next summer.

With the city funds and another $950,000 in pledges and donations, the effort has $1.7 million in hand towards the total cost of $3.2 million.

The eight-lane, 25-meter pool would be housed in an 11,000-square-foot addition to the Community Center. It would also feature learn-to-swim areas, play slides, a spa and an outdoor patio.

An enclosed balcony would allow spectators to overlook the pool on one side and the gymnasium on the other.

Building a competition-sized pool would allow the growing Glenwood Springs swimming teams – both the Sopris Barracudas and the high school teams – to host regional swim meets.

That will boost business and community spirit, said Jay and other speakers.

“Hosting other teams is really an honor. It’s something other teams can do for us, but we haven’t been able to do for them,” said GSHS senior and swimming star Tess Jankovsky.

“Swimming has become a victim of our own success. We’ve outgrown the Hot Springs Pool,” said former Barracuda swimmer Mark Williams, now an engineer and swim coach.

Williams predicted that the new pool will boost the level of competitive excellence among local swimmers.

“I’ve seen the effects an elite-level facility can have on a sport,” Williams said, citing the Gates soccer complex at Colorado Mountain College in Spring Valley.

“Those soccer teams are now playing on the state level,” he said. “That’s something the Community Aquatic Center could bring to swimming. We need to keep the momentum moving forward.”

Marley Tobian, of Glenwood Springs, who competed in the 400-meter freestyle race in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, recalled her own start in swimming at a pool built in her home town of Exeter, Calif., when she was 10 years old.

“In towns like Glenwood Springs, we can set up a situation where a future Olympian can give this town the credit as the place they started,” Tobian said.

Bill Sanderson, an Alpine Bank vice president, urged business owners to help the project “get over the hump.”

Steinbrecher said the pool isn’t just designed for competition.

“There will be a huge water play area, and a deep end for lifesaving and scuba lessons. Anything you can think of, we’ll be able to do in this pool. It’s designed for all ages and interests,” said the former Glenwood Springs city councilwoman.

Pledges and donations are going to the Two Rivers Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization set up to receive donations for the Community Center and other worthwhile projects.

Jitter Nolen, the foundation’s treasurer, said financial advisors can help donors “get the most bang for your charitable contribution,” then joked that no one could leave the room without making a pledge.

“It can be painless, it can be exciting, and it can be fun when we go over the top,” Nolen said.

For more information on the fund-raising effort, check the Web site http://www.glenwoodrec.com.

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