Build a pool for Craig committee announces $12K in pledges at second meeting
CRAIG — The grassroots effort to build a new indoor, competitive-sized swimming pool for the community announced it has raised more than $12,000 in pledges and intends to generate more support as specific plans are developed.
The second meeting of the Build a Pool for Craig committee was held at 1 p.m. Monday at Sunset Meadows. About 20 people attended.
The group began gathering pledges for funds after learning of the Moffat County School District’s intention to close the pool at MCHS later this year.
“We won’t call to ask you for money until we have a plan in place,” said Dr. Elise Sullivan, who facilitated the meeting. “It’s not about the amount of the pledge that matters. It’s about community participation.”
The goal is for at least 4,000 people in Craig to pledge a total of $500,000. The committee then plans to use community support to leverage funds from companies, government and foundations.
Volunteers are planning to set up information pledge tables at Walmart on Saturday, April 7. and Saturday, April 28. They also intend to seek pledges during events this summer.
The Craig Sea Sharks have expressed an interest in acting as a nonprofit umbrella organization. The committee is consulting with experts to have a memorandum of understanding in place in May, Sullivan said.
In addition to fundraising, the group discussed three potential models for a new pool facility.
• YMCA: YMCA is a global, nonprofit, Christian-focused organization that aims to “strengthen communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility,” according to ymca.net/forabetterus.
A 50-page manual describes what communities need to do to bring a YMCA to Craig, Sullivan said.
She said the facility would likely be simpler than a recreation center, and the community would need to raise $14 to $20 million prior to construction, have a 25 to 30 member steering committee, gather commitments of support from half of the area businesses and engage a person dedicated to three years of full-time fundraising.
• Recreation center: Based on information gathered by committee members, building a recreation center would cost $25 to 30 million and require approval by voters of a special recreation district. Such a district creates a taxing entity that would raise money from property taxes within a set geography.
“The county commissioners would have to recommend it to go on the ballot. Commissioners (Frank) Moe and (Ray) Beck are not supportive of putting a recreation district on the ballot for this November,” Sullivan said.
A board would manage the district. Sullivan said such a district might duplicate what the city and county already do.
• Conversion of the old Kmart building: Owned by the Sears, Roebuck and Company, the old Kmart building has been vacant since it’s closure late in 2016.
“An idea that was brought forward only last week is to convert that building into recreational space,” Sullivan said.
The committee is planning to contact the realtor to learn if it would be possible to acquire it. The committee is seeking specialists, such as general contractors, to come forward to help.
“There are a lot more questions than answers about this idea,” Sullivan said.
She also said that, if the committee wants to move forward, it is likely it would have to spend an estimated $10,000 for a feasibility study and identify an operational partner. She also noted that using an existing space might limit development possibilities.
“We need to consider who it is we are trying to serve and how might they best be served by these models,” Sullivan said.
The group is asking for help from the community.
“Like ‘Build a Pool for Craig’ on Facebook,” invite friends to like the page, pledge money, ask your friends to pledge money (and) help us collect pledges at Walmart on April 7 and April 28,” Sullivan said.
Pledge forms in both English and Spanish are available at Downtown Books or KS Kreations in downtown Craig. For more information, call Sullivan at 970-826-2449.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
Twenty years ago, as a sophomore at University of Colorado Denver, Nathan Brough wrote an economics paper on hemp’s potential to grow the nation’s gross domestic product.