What to know about the Mount Pleasant aquatic center millage


The lights are dim as the Rose Pool, located inside of the Rose Center, shuts down for the night in this Nov. 13, 2015, file photo. The pool closed in June 2016. (CM Life photo | Monica Bradburn | File)

"How many of you grew up in a town with a community pool?”

That is the question Lisa Diaz proposed at the Student Government Association meeting on Feb. 19. Hands across the audience shot up in the air, and Diaz commented on it being a lot of them.

It was here that she, alongside student Kloe Campbell, pushed for students to vote on Feb. 27 and pass a bond for a new Aquatics Center to be built here in Mount Pleasant.

Diaz is the treasurer for the Mid-Michigan Aquatics Recreational Authority (MMARA), a group that was created eight years ago in response to the closure of the Central Michigan University Rose pool. Since 2016, CMU students and community members have been using the Student Activity Center pool to meet their swimming needs. 

She said the area is small and the water isn't deeper than four feet, making activities limited.

“There’s a lot of things that have been hard for CMU to support,” Diaz said. “They’ve supported us for many years with Rose and now are struggling with just the SAC.” 

She said the MMARA has been working on creating a plan to build a multi-pool aquatic center for the entire Mount Pleasant community to use. The facility would have an eight-lane, 25-yard stretch pool with an additional 4 lanes on the other side of a movable bulkhead. The center would also have a smaller warm water pool for therapeutic purposes, diving boards, locker rooms and stadium seating. 

“The impact that this can have is multi-generational, multi-purpose,” Diaz said. “It has the ability to meet the needs for the very young and very old for generations to come, and why shouldn’t Mount Pleasant have that?”

If the bond is passed, Diaz says the facility would cost $23.5 million to build. It’s estimated to be completed by Spring 2027, but the board hopes the process could be accelerated. She said the board has worked with an aquatic consulting board and an aquatic architecture firm to create this budget, and it has been refined over the course of many meetings. 

“We feel really confident in that number and that that’s where we’re gonna land,” she said.

When it comes to how the facility would be paid for, Diaz says the bond adds an additional tax for property owners in Mount Pleasant and Union Township, and as a result they are the only one who can vote on the bond. 

The estimated annual millage rate for homeowners is 1 mill (or $1 per $1000 of taxable value). Annually, the cost for a homeowner with a house valued around $150,000 or more would be $75 a year, or roughly $6 per month. The board stresses this tax should not extend more than 25 years. Diaz said according to bond advisors, the bond would take only 21 years to pay off.

“We could’ve opted for a smaller pool and a smaller budget, but we want it to be sustainable,” she said. “We want to meet the needs of the community while also creating a sustainable business model.”

Diaz said the pool would benefit not only the town as a whole, but students at Central as well. One of these students is Kloe Campbell, a student at CMU who’s on the Swim and Diving Club. Campbell was at the same SGA meeting with Diaz to talk about why an Aquatic Center would benefit CMU.

“The Rose pool offered a race pool and a diving well, and Special Olympics used to be hosted at it," she said. "Hundreds could watch in the stands, and more events were able to take place. Now, the SAC pool limits (that)."

Campbell told SGA members that the new pool could give her swim team more opportunities for competitions, especially with the stadium seating. She also said the center could open up more opportunities for students to advance in or outside of the classroom.

"The aquatic center would provide opportunities for new classes such as scuba diving, deep water training, and aerobics,” she said. "Therapeutic rec and physical therapy programs would be able to get hand-on experience (as well)."

Mount Pleasant residents can vote on the bond on through early voting or on Feb. 27 at any polling location. Free transportation to polling locations is being provided to those who need it as well.

Those who want to learn more about the project can visit the MMARA website.