Opening remarks were made by Mike Garrett, co-chairman of the Monett YMCA Capital Campaign Committee, who said the state-of-the-art facility would be one of the finest recreational facilities in the four-state area.
Garrett credited Patti Holt for spearheading the effort to bring the YMCA to the Monett area, as well as a host of other key volunteers who donated time, effort and money to get the campaign rolling.
Gordon Brown, executive director for the Monett Area YMCA, commended the people who worked so hard at achieving their goals.
"They always asked 'What is the best way we can do things?'" Brown said. "Monett [volunteers] always want to do the right thing, the best thing, for the community."
Brown commended Garrett for his diligence and persistence to make the YMCA a successful venture for the city and its residents.
"This is a significant event in the life of this community," Brown said. "The people who live, work and raise their families in and around the Monett area will have a multi-million dollar facility that will serve this community from now on.
"I am most proud that the money raised for this project was in the old-fashioned way," Brown continued. "It was just people in difficult economic circumstances standing up and saying 'I care.'"
Brown said no one would be denied access to the facility because of economic circumstances.
The new facility has been designed to meet the needs identified by Monett area residents. The facility will be highlighted by a large, indoor aquatic center, which will feature an eight-lane, 25-yard competition pool with electronic touch pads, a digital scoreboard and seating for 600 spectators.
The center will also include a warm water pool with numerous play stations, a large water slide and space for swimming classes.
Construction is expected to take up to 16 months.
"Typically, everyone would get a shovel and turn over the first few little scoops of dirt," Garrett said, "but there aren't enough shovels in Monett to give to everyone who helped bring this about."
Garrett called on Danny Vaughn to make the first ceremonial scoop with a backhoe, which unearthed a spaghetti-twist of pool noodles and toys in the giant bucket.
"Now I can't think of a single thing that would indicate any better that this is the best spot for an aquatic center," Garrett laughed.