Terri Miller makes a big splash
On the day set aside to celebrate the opening of Glenwood Springs’ new pool, the woman who has headed the facility’s fund-raiser attracted about as much attention as the facility itself.City officials and community members heaped praised Friday on Terri Miller, head of the Let’s All Pledge campaign.Glenwood Springs City Council even added some official weight to all the compliments coming Miller’s way, declaring the pool’s opening day “Terri Miller Day.”To the applause of pool backers, Mayor Larry Emery – wearing a lei over his blazer for Friday’s luau-themed pool party – presented council’s proclamation to Miller.She later admitted to being caught off guard by all the attention. Still, she managed to get her thoughts together enough to share them with the crowd who had gathered to celebrate the completion of the long-awaited pool.”It’s a beautiful facility and a wonderful addition to our community,” she told them.Then, like a true fund-raiser, she seized the opportunity to plug one of her favorite causes. Miller noted that $1.25 million has been collected so far in the campaign, but more contributions are needed to pay off the city’s debt to build the pool.”There’s still a chance for everyone to be a part of this grassroots campaign. When people work together, this is the result,” Miller said.The pool has been a dream for some proponents since the 1980s, and backers struggled through the 1990s to finance it through tax measures and other means. But while the city came up with enough to build a basic community center, it couldn’t immediately afford the pool.So Miller, a mother of competitive swimmers, and other supporters decided to start a fund-raising campaign in November 2001.Their timing couldn’t have been much worse. The 9/11 attacks came two months earlier, and the nation’s dot-com boom was going bust. Then the next summer the city suffered through the Coal Seam Fire, which not only consumed homes but hurt local tourism and the city’s tax revenues. The opening of a Wal-Mart superstore in Rifle didn’t help Glenwood Springs’ economy either.These economic setbacks made it harder for people to give, slowing but not defeating the efforts of pool backers.”It’s amazing to me the number of people who are still honoring their pledges,” Miller said.She said the pool effort was a group effort, not hers alone. And she said the end result is a facility that adds a lot to the community center.City Councilwoman Mary Steinbrecher agreed. Steinbrecher was involved in the early efforts to bring a community center to town. She was on council when it decided to build something, with the hopes of adding amenities such as a pool later.”It’s great to see that succeeding councils would continue the vision and open the pool,” she said.The pool contributes to the center’s ability to be a family-oriented place with something to offer everyone, she said. And Miller played a crucial role in continuing to push for a pool as part of that vision, Steinbrecher said.For Miller, one reward will be getting to watch her daughter, 17-year-old Stacey, compete in the pool, about a decade after she first got into racing.Stacey stood in street clothes by her mother on the pool deck Friday. She had forgotten her swimsuit for the occasion. But she said she’ll get plenty of pool time later, starting “Monday morning, when practice starts.”Her mom wasn’t sure if she would be there to see her daughter’s inaugural workout in the facility Miller helped get built. Practice starts at 5:30 a.m.
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