- Associated Press - Friday, November 27, 2015

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - After hitting a key fundraising goal, St. Cloud leaders say they’re ready to build a long-planned aquatic center and have it open by 2017.

The St. Cloud Times (https://on.sctimes.com/21jFXwd ) reports that St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis and area YMCA director Greg Gack announced Wednesday that the YMCA had hit its $11 million share of the overall fundraising goal.

Aquatics center advocates were vigilant through the fundraising process to reach out to “anyone and everyone” who was curious about the project, Gack said.

“It’s truly the entire community, and literally every penny that we could generate in support was used towards this project,” he said.

Planning for the $24.9 million project has been underway since 2004, when voters authorized $10 million to be spent on an indoor community center or aquatics center. The city share of the funding comes from $14 million in sales tax-related revenue. The YMCA funded much of the remainder with donations from area businesses and private donations.

The project still needs final approval from the city council and the YMCA board, but Kleis said he expects crews to be working at the site within the next few weeks.

“We’ll start spending those dollars that have been raised in December,” Kleis said.

The aquatics center is expected to open in 2017.

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Information from: St. Cloud Times, https://www.sctimes.com

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