The idea of creating an aquatic center in Isabella County is closer to reality than it ever has been, but there’s still a long way to go.
From November 2019 through September 2020, a multi-governmental committee comprised of members from the City of Mt. Pleasant, Union Township, and the Mt. Pleasant School District – each of which was represented by two members on the committee – met to answer the question, “Is a recreational authority the best mechanism to advance the creation of a community aquatic center?”
In September, they presented their findings to each body represented on the committee. In the following weeks and months, after reviewing the findings, the three bodies each approved the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority Isabella County, Michigan Resolution to Adopt Articles of Incorporation. The Articles of Incorporation are now awaiting approval by the Secretary of State, after which the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority will officially exist.
“I think the thing that we have to collectively understand is this is a big step forward,” says Lisa Diaz Sytsema, a member of Swim Friends of Mid-Michigan, a community volunteer group that has been highly involved in this planning process, and honorary member of the multi-governmental committee that explored the feasibility of the recreational authority. “This is the farthest the community has ever moved this issue of having an aquatic center, but we still have a long way to go.”
The next step in the process is to create the board of the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority. That board will be comprised of two members from Union Township, two from the City of Mt. Pleasant, and one from the Mt. Pleasant School District. Additionally, the Mid-Michigan Aquatic Recreational Authority has the option to appoint two at-large members if it would like to.
“It will be up to them, then, to bring the aquatic center to fruition,” says Mark Stuhldreher, Union Township manager and chair of the multi-governmental committee that explored the feasibility of the recreational authority.
Those who wish to represent the City of Mt. Pleasant need to live in the City, those who wish to represent Union Township must live in Union Township, and those who wish to represent the school district must live within the boundaries of the school district. Interested parties should contact their respective entities, which will approve the appointments to the board.
Currently, volunteers are especially needed to represent the City of Mt. Pleasant.
Diaz-Sytsema says they are looking for “people with diverse skillsets in this group” because it will take a variety of skills to make the aquatic center a reality, including those with experience in fundraising, project management, construction management, and recreation.
“If people are interested and realize the value of having an aquatic center in the community, I encourage them to get involved; and, go to our Facebook page and engage,” she says. “The recreational authority alone will not get this to the finish line. It will take all of us.”
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