This July, the Community Center Pool Complex will open once again to the public – and you won’t believe your eyes.
The pool complex, which has doubled in size, will feature two slides for the ‘big kids’, one slide for the’littles’, new bathrooms, outdoor seating options, grassy areas for play, decorative safety fencing, shade awnings, and a large splash pad.
And the pool itself will now offer a zero-entry, lap lanes, and an open swim area – plus a moveable bulkhead for competitive swimming.
And it will be heated, extending the swim season to six months or more.
“As long as there are people who come to swim,” says City Manager Paul Jepson, “I will keep the pool open.”
What began as an effort to reopen the pool by fixing the problems that had caused it to close in 2014, evolved into a dynamic vision for a community pool complex shared by city leaders and community partners.
“This has been personal to me,” says Mike Stapleton, who was elected to City Council in 2014, the same year the pool was shut down. At the time, the closure was a matter of public safety, due to the condition of the pumps and the amount of leakage.
The pool sat empty for several years before Freeport McMoRan, in 2019, co-sponsored with the City an engineering study that showed the pool could be repaired by installing a new liner and pumps. The cost estimate came in at $850,000. The City was ready to move on the project in the 2020 budget, and then COVID hit.
All city projects hit a hard pause at that time, according to Linda Oddonetto, Globe’s Director of Economic & Community Development, as the City prepared to deal with the loss of tax revenue and uncertainty about how the pandemic would play out.
At the same time, efforts had been underway for years to raise funding for an Aquatic Center, but the price tag of $6 million continued to grow, and despite an enormous effort by the Aquatic Center’s board to find the funding sources and land necessary, the prospect seemed years off.
This left the community with just two pools: the Hostetler Pool in Miami, with future operations uncertain, and the smaller members pool run by the Cobre Valley Recreation Center.
Getting Globe’s community pool operational again was still on everyone’s mind. And it remained a priority of the City as part of Council’s overall commitment to parks, recreation and a greater quality of life for residents.
A year later, in 2021, the City was ready to move forward again, thanks to a big assist from funds received as part of the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA). Project costs had risen to $1.2 million due to the increase in building materials and labor. The City also recognized that simply fixing the community pool was not sufficient if they were to address current needs: a facility conducive for competitive swimming, a zero-entry, and heating so that the pool could be opened for a longer season.
They decided to think bigger and include more amenities, doubling the total square footage and making significant additions to the design: a large splash pad, new decking, a moveable bulkhead to accommodate competitive swimming, a heater to extend the swimming season to six months or more, and a plan to create a community facility that would serve families and the community in a variety of ways.
This vision inspired additional investors to sign on to the project. Freeport McMoRan awarded the City $250,000 through their Community Investment Grant Program, representing the largest grant ever awarded through the program.
The United Fund of Globe-Miami awarded a $200,000 grant, and other community partners weighed in: Capstone contributed $100,000, and BHP provided two grants totaling $250,000.
This month, the City will go before the Gila County Board of Supervisors with a request for $500,000 after receiving positive feedback from the Supervisors during a presentation last October, which outlined the expanded scope of the project.
Oddonetto says she believes investors saw a project that would (1) serve the greater community, (2) have the infrastructure largely in place, and (3) form part of a mature park facility that would serve as a key anchor in the larger overall recreation plan that the City had demonstrated they were fully committed to implementing.
“This project checked off a lot of boxes for our partners,” says Oddonetto, who credits the strong support from key partners with moving the project forward so quickly.
In December, Neal Jensen, CEO of Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, announced he and the hospital’s board had decided to put their support behind the community pool project. They shifted a $1.5 million matching grant program to the community pool that had originally been set up to help raise funds for an aquatic center.
“We had held back,” Jensen says when the City was pursuing a simple fix of an old pool – in the board’s eyes, something that would not accomplish what was needed. But as the City expanded the scope of the project, it was no longer about “putting lipstick on an old pool.” When the project grew from $1.2 million to $2.3 million, that significantly changed things, Jensen says.
Jensen met with the City to explore a partnership and determine whether some of the hospital’s “must-haves” could be incorporated into the City pool complex, which would help him sell it to his board.
And the City delivered, presenting a new plan that the hospital board signed off on.
In December, just before the holidays, the hospital’s board announced they were swinging their support behind the City and committing the $1.5 million.
Preston Pollock, in-house counsel for CVRMC, says, “Once our shareholders came to the realization that from a timely standpoint, best may not be achievable – but the question was really how can we be better – that’s when the transition happened.”
“If you look at this in terms of good, better, best,” Pollock said, “best might not be achievable. Being timely and getting to better IS perhaps best.”
“We were absolutely thrilled when CVRMC contacted us,” says Oddonetto. “The hospital has always been an important partner in the community, and we share many similar goals in making this a community that can attract and retain a workforce. We are both focused on housing and creating the kinds of amenities that will attract people who want to live here and invest in their future here.”
Fernando Shipley, who sits on both the hospital board and Globe City Council, as well as being an ex-officio of the (CVAC) Cobre Valley Aquatic Center, said the CVAC is discussing with each aquatic center donor to see if the new joint partnership surrounding the community center aligns with their purpose in donating funds.
Shipley says, “For me, I pledged $5,000 over the next five years and have said I don’t want the money back. It could be used towards summer sponsorships for kids, or shuttle service to get families to the pool.”
“There is still a list of amenities we’d like to see that could make the community center facility be even better,” says Shipley.
And while the City has committed to both putting together the $2.3 million in funding for the pool complex and taking on the maintenance and operations for the facility, City staff are still in the process of raising the funds to implement the expanded scope.
“We would love to see an event center on the property,” says Oddonetto, pointing to an area large enough to build out. There’s already an outdoor screen and a large grassy area.
Community leaders will continue to vision and fundraise. But come July, residents will get to enjoy what they’ve been waiting so long for.
Pool Complex timeline. Courtesy image
Writer, photographer. Passionate foodie, lover of good books and storytelling. Lives in Globe. Plays in the historic district. Travels when possible.