Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A New Era for Holland Community Aquatic Center

The new executive director’s first order of business is the Nov. 5 operating millage election.
The Holland Area Community Swimming Pool Authority (HACSPA), an independent municipal authority, was created in the late 1990s. HACSPA owns and operates the Holland Community Aquatic Center.  On opening the doors in 1999, the Aquatic Center levied an operating and debt service millage of 1.98 mills. On the Nov. 5 ballot, the Aquatic Center is seeking an operating millage of 1.0 mill. Approval of this millage will make the total Aquatic Center levy 1.72 mills for debt service and operations. An increase in the operating mileage is offset by a decrease in the debt service levy even as the property values in our community have diminished. That’s a remarkable accomplishment! The Aquatic Center asks you to vote on the 1-mill proposal to help HACSPA obtain a sustainable and vibrant future.

The Aquatic Center continues daily to serve the greater Holland community. As an integral part of our phenomenal facility, programming has grown through the years and continues to excel. This fall the Aquatic Center restructured and improved its premier, no-cost-to-the-kids instructional swimming program for both public and private grade school children. A feature of the new curriculum is increased pool time provided for in-water instruction. The kids, teachers and parents are feeling the excitement. The program provides clear, meaningful accomplishment levels for swimming and safety and a tangible reward as the children achieve greater and greater skills. We are also creating more opportunities for children to extend their accomplishments beyond the school-based program.
As part of our strategic plan, the Aquatic Center board has scheduled ongoing opportunities for community evaluation and input to our programming, and this fall, to accommodate community requests, we expanded morning and afternoon lap swim hours.

Our competitive program continues to excel under the leadership of Troy Emmons and we can look forward to the development of even more national-caliber swimmers. Moreover, because the Holland Community Aquatic Center is a leading facility in Michigan, it is host for many large swim meets, which each time bring hundreds of swimmers and their families to our community. Participants in large, multi-day events contribute to the greater Holland economy with dollars they spend while staying in our community.

We are planning additional programming for all ages, including swimming instruction as well as other opportunities for fitness, aquatic sports and recreation. The Aquatic Center for years has enjoyed the support of the Holland area community. We look forward to serving the Holland area for many years to come. Please vote on Nov. 5.

— Greg Oppenhuizen is chairman of the Holland Area Community Swimming Pool Authority.

As published in the Holland Sentinel on October 22, 2013

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