The nonprofit Jump and Splash Inc. is a group of Montpelier residents with the goal of exploring ways to bring a full-service recreation center, including indoor pools, to the downtown. The group is not defunct, but is currently inactive.

We began pursuing this goal when the downtown First in Fitness closed three years ago. That September, I called together a public meeting that was standing room only. This spring, the results of a feasibility study contracted by the city to study the future of the Barre Street Recreation Center gave a gray future to the possibility of a downtown recreational center as envisioned by Jump and Splash and local health and fitness advocates.

Some of the press coverage indicated the vision had essentially gone “down the river” so to speak, pun intended, because the feasibility study found little support for the venture, citing foremost, citizen concern about increased taxes. In my view, the study's findings were not significant given the limited scope of the study. Jump and Splash surveyed over 1,000 residents in 2016 of which 67 percent favored a downtown indoor pool and 87 percebt favored a many purpose recreational center.

Montpelier struggles to keep its downtown alive and vibrant, and to attract new families to reside here. With the long, difficult winters we experience and the current lack of affordable, indoor facilities for recreation and fitness, the Jump and Splash vision would make a huge difference. Check out the website https://jumpandsplashvt.org/ and add your voice to the cause.

Dot Helling

Montpelier

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