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Work starts on aquatic center Robert Moreno | Tue, Jan 07 2014 12:00 PM

National City's much anticipated aquatic center was given a life vest, as construction on the project has finally started after a two-year delay.

The 4,600-square-foot multipurpose facility will provide the South Bay with educational and recreational opportunities.

Components of the aquatic center include classrooms, a storage area for boats and equipment, locker rooms and an area where people can go boating and kayaking as well as other outdoor activities.

“(National City has) nothing like this that’s located on the water,” said National City City Engineer Steve Manganiello.

The project will be located at Pepper Park, which is in National City’s Harbor District.

Earlier this year, City Council approved the South Bay Family YMCA as operators of the new facility.

“The plan all along was to operate the temporary facility and then this new facility would be built,” said Lisa Johnson, executive manager of the South Bay Family YMCA.

The South Bay Family YMCA had recently collaborated with the city to take control of Camacho gym and the Las Palmas pool.

Johnson said the aquatic center will be available for anyone, not just YMCA members.

Manganiello said the project took two years longer than expected because the state of California did not allow National City to use its redevelopment bond for the project.

“We had some issues with funding based on the dissolution of redevelopment,” he said.

Manganiello said the city has been challenging the state for more than a year regarding use of funds.

“We had those funds set aside for this project,” he said.  “So without getting the state’s authorization to move forward with the use of the funds, we had to put the project on a temporary hold.”

The estimated cost of the aquatic center project is roughly $3 million.

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