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Sutter goes splash – again
A familiar summertime chorus has finally returned to Sutter.
The sound of children's voices, splashing and the echoing ping of the diving board once again rings from the community pool, which celebrated a grand reopening Saturday after a $1.2 million makeover. The new Morehead Family Community Pool was a labor of love made possible only through the generous support of the community, which donated a tremendous amount of time and materials and worked evenings and weekends to see the job through, committee members said.
It was with a wide smile that Joe More- head took the first plunge into its cool, sparkling waters Saturday.
"I just jumped," he said. "I haven't dived in 40 years. "But maybe now I'll come and practice. The water's nice."
Everyone seemed to agree Saturday, as children flipped and cannonballed off the diving board, their tidal-waves lapping at the water's edge. Mothers bobbed their toddlers in the kiddie pool and tried to keep an eye on older siblings who were orchestrating swim races and splash contests.
"It's about time," said board president Alison Allread Cannada said. "The background noise, the splashing, the voices, the music — to me, this is summer. It was worth the wait."
Mariah Titus has driven by nearly every day since the pool closed last August to monitor its progress.
"They probably think I'm some crazy stalker," she said.
Growing up in Meridian, her aunt and mother often made the drive to Sutter for afternoons at the community pool, and now that Titus lives in Sutter with her own children, the tradition carries on. Her daughter Erin, 9, was up at 6 a.m. Saturday, ready for the pool's opening.
"Bags were packed, bathing suits were picked out, we had the debate over which towel to bring," Mariah Titus said. "She was ready."
"I just couldn't wait for the pool to open," Erin admitted. "I get to swim and have fun."
In recent years, the pool, which opened in 1963, faced continual challenges, Allread Cannada said. As necessary repairs became more frequent and more extensive, volunteers turned to door-knocking and other fundraising to keep it open.
"We spent year after year putting Band-Aids on the pool, Band-Aids on the roof, Band-Aids on the bathroom," she said. "Then, Mr. Morehead took our box of Band-Aids away."
Morehead has lived in Sutter all of his 82 years and said it pained him to see the pool's struggling condition.
"They were trying to do a lot of work," he said. "The way they were going, they were never gonna make it."
After consulting with his family, he made a donation of about $900,000 to keep the pool afloat and for a much-needed makeover. He helped oversee the construction, even pushing wheelbarrows himself in the rain and having nightly phone chats with the contractor.
For a town of roughly 2,900 people, the community pool has been a staple of summer entertainment for youths and families. Now, he said, it can remain as such, as well as be a home for the high school swim and water polo teams.
Renovations include construction of a new pool service building, with new bathrooms, lockers, storage space and a snack stand. The rebuilt pool is ADA accessible, 5,100 square feet and 12 feet deep under the diving board, which thrilled Austen Ward, 11, as he plugged his noise Saturday and launched off the edge.
"The last one wasn't as deep," he said. "Now, you can dive a little farther."
"I think it's amazing," said Meaghan Emily Condrey, 13. "I'll come here almost every day ... Even though the old pool had a lot of memories, I'm sure this one is going to give us a lot of great ones."
CONTACT Ashley Gebb at email@example.com or 749-4783. Find her on Facebook at /ADagebb or on Twitter at @ADagebb.