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Christmas has come a little bit earlier this year for the City of Mountain Home!
After years of anticipation from Mountain Home residents, the City of Mountain Home officially broke ground on the Mountain Home Community and Aquatic Center yesterday afternoon.
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Mountain Home Mayor Hillrey Adams, members of the Mountain Home City Council, and members of the public.
The flip of Adams’s shovel marked the beginning of Arkansas’s third-largest ongoing construction project for next year.
“What you’re going to see happen with things in the future as it develops is going to be huge for the future and the children of this community,” Adams said before gathering guests to break ground on the construction site.
Mountain Home’s new convention and aquatic center has been a long time coming.
Approved in a special election in March of 2021 by a slim 47 votes, Mountain Home’s convention/aquatic center has been in relative limbo as the city has worked its way through other major projects, including major overhauls of its various parks.
The project was further delayed after a resident donated a plot of land to the city that rested against the project’s initial site, opening up a better location to place the 65,000-square-foot facility.
Now, the city is ready to move forward after completing its major overhaul of the city’s parks. Funding for the aquatic center comes from a temporary half-cent sales tax and a permanent quarter-cent sales tax that were both approved in 2021. The temporary sales tax will expire after funding bonds for the construction of the project.
The initial estimate for the project came in around $36.2 million. It is unknown what effect inflation will have on the final asking price. Once completed, the complex will feature a 30,000-square-foot convention center, boasting multipurpose rooms and a fitness area with cardio and resistance equipment. The center should feature enough room for large conventions throughout the year.
In addition, the facility will include a 35,000-square-foot gymnasium featuring an indoor running/walk track that will also be available for residents looking to beat summer’s heat and winter’s frigidness. Various courts for basketball, pickleball and volleyball will also be available.
Next, construction will focus on a 35,000-square-foot indoor aquatic center with pools for both competition and therapy. The indoor aquatic center will be matched by a 35,000 aquatic area outside that will feature up to three pools and other water-themed features. The pools are expected to be used by Mountain Home Public Schools’ swim teams, which currently use private pools by local residents to practice for competition.
“One of the really important groups this is going to benefit though, is the Mountain Home High School Swim Team,” Adams said. “Coach Hope Normandy is behind me here. If you don’t win that state championship with that new dive, well, you’re in some big trouble.”
During the ceremony, Mayor Adams thanked a number of people for their help in getting the Mountain Home Community and Aquatic Center off the ground by assisting with 2019’s election campaign by knocking on doors and convincing voters to approve the city’s sale tax increase.
The construction of the city’s new community center will be overseen by the Gregory Company.
Those members include Mountain Home Coach Hope Normandy, Mrs. Mary Joe Augustine, the Mountain Home Hurricanes, the Gregory family and their crew of employees and subcontractors, Mrs. Mary Schule, Mr. Billy D. Austin, Mr. Daniel Baxley, Mr. Steve Hill, Mrs. Paula Thitoff and the Water Aerobics Girls, a crew of Mountain Home Pickleballers, Mr. Arnold Knox, Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce President Dani Pugsley, the Coulter family, City Attorney Roger Morgan, members of ASU-Mountain Home, members of the Mountain Home City Council and members of the city’s various work crews.
Construction for the Mountain Home Community Center & Aquatic Center is expected to run through 2024 and be completed by Summer 2025.