Groundbreaking Held for Aquatic Center, Early Childhood Learning Center


On July 18th, over 100 people from across the region attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Aquatic Center and Early Childhood Learning Center on Miller Drive in Plymouth. Several dignitaries from the local and state level were in attendance to welcome in both facilities into Marshall County.

Mayor Mark Senter spoke as well as Chris Cotterill from the Indiana Economic Development Authority, Regional Development Authority Board Members John DeSalle (President, Hoosier Racing Tire) and Pete McCown (President, Community Foundation of Elkhart County), Kevin Boyer from the Marshall County Community Foundation, United Way of Marshall County Board Chairman Jeff Houin, City Attorney Sean Surrisi, Marshall County Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Jerry Chavez, Sister Judith Diltz from the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ and Ancilla College, Plymouth Community School Superintendent Andy Hartley, Rick and Barb Miller who dedicated the name of the pool facility as the Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatic Center, and Linda Yoder who spoke on behalf of the Growing Kids organization.

“The South Bend – Elkhart Region is investing in its residents and in its future through projects like the Plymouth Aquatic Center and Early Childhood Learning Center,” said John DeSalle, President of Hoosier Racing Tire and Vice Chair of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Development Authority. This project will help create a better quality of place in the South Bend – Elkhart Region, transforming communities across the region into vibrant destinations were residents and visitors can live, work, play and stay,”

The Aquatic Center will feature a 10-lane pool with two diving boards, two family changing rooms and seating for over 350 people. The City of Plymouth, Plymouth Community School Corporation and Ancilla College are partnering to allow this facility to be built.

The Early Childhood Learning Center will provide space to provide affordable, high quality pre-kindergarten education and childcare. It will house the Growing Kids Learning Center, Marshall County Community Foundation and United Way of Marshall County.

In all, 17 entities made this project possible.

Construction should begin in the next two weeks.

Groundbreaking for Aquatic Center and Early Childhood Learning Center

Plymouth, IN (July 18, 2018) – Years of planning, strategic financing, and unique partnerships with 13 separate entities are resulting in 2 exceptional projects coming to Plymouth and Marshall County. These partnerships include 2 for-profit agencies, 3 not-for-profits, the City of Plymouth, 2 educational institutions, 3 newly established not-for-profits to manage the project, and 2 additional public-sector funding programs. The Aquatic Center and the Early Childhood Learning Center will both officially break ground on Wednesday, July 18th at 10 a.m. at 2680 Miller Drive in Plymouth. These projects will work together under the common goal of community development and economic growth.

The developments are a long time coming for the community. According to Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter, “It’s been important for us to have this amenity—a place for our high school swim team to practice and compete, and for the community to have year-round pool access. We’ve been working towards this for several years, and by partnering with other organizations, we’ve finally made it a reality.”

These projects have been made possible by a truly unique financing structure. These will be the first developments in Marshall County to be funded by New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). This is a federal program that aims to incentivize private investment in low-income communities. By providing a tax credit benefit, communities can attract projects that will invigorate the local economy, such as these. The Aquatic Center will also receive $2 million in state funding through Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative. Regional Cities helps communities across the state come together to transform their regions into destinations for talent. Additional financing includes TIF funds and private loans.

The 27,000 square foot Aquatic Center is expected to attract visitors and transform quality of life for those who live here. A partnership between the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Community School Corporation, and Ancilla College made this development possible. These entities will have dedicated hours of access to the pool, which will be a great benefit to residents and students. The facility will include a 10-lane pool, 2 diving boards, 2 family changing rooms, and seating for over 350 people. The pool will also be accessible to the public and be used for a variety of events and competitions.

Another vital partnership that brought about these projects was through the Marshall County Community Foundation (MCCF) and United Way of Marshall County. Both have championed improving early childhood education at the local level. For example, last summer, they paved the way for Marshall County to become an On My Way Pre-K county, making educational opportunities available to 4-year-olds from low-income families. Their vision for the Early Childhood Learning Center was instrumental in seeking funding that allowed both projects to be developed.

The Early Childhood Learning Center will be home to Growing Kids Learning Center, the MCCF, and the United Way. It will provide affordable, high quality pre-K education and childcare to our community.

According to MCCF Executive Director Linda Yoder, “This will help Marshall County in so many ways. Strengthening our community starts with the youth. Providing a strong educational foundation increases children’s chances of academic and career success later in life. The center will also serve as a resource to
families in need, allowing more parents to enter the job market and improving our workforce.”

Several important project partners have brought this innovative development to life. They include: City of Plymouth, Plymouth Redevelopment Commission, Plymouth Economic Development Commission, Plymouth Community School Corporation, Ancilla College, Marshall County Community Foundation, United Way of Marshall County, Growing Kids Learning Center, Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatic Center LLC, Ice Miller, Strategus, Weigand Construction, Majority Builders, French Lick Redevelopment CDE, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Capital One, United Federal Credit Union, Northern Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), and Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC).

These projects just off US 30 in west Plymouth are a combined $10.6 million capital investment. And the potential for growth does not stop with these developments. MCEDC President/CEO Jerry Chavez says, “The Aquatic Center is expected to leverage additional destination project investment in the area. This means that these developments will attract even more investment to Plymouth and Marshall County.”

Aquatic Center Named: Dr. Susan Bardwell Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center is named after Dr. Susan Bardwell, a pediatrician who served the community for nearly 10 years. In 2012, she tragically lost her battle with cancer. Barb and Rick Miller, who are the operators of the new Aquatic Center, took on their association with the project to honor the local pediatrician who helped many area residents. Barb Miller states, “Susan had such a big heart. She really cared for her patients, her staff, and her community. Swimming was a passion of her sons and so it became a passion of hers. This project will bring her dream to life.”

Jerry Chavez adds, “Mr. and Mrs. Miller are a big part of the development of the Aquatic Center. Their input and financial commitment are a key element to making this project a reality for the city and county. It’s great to have them as a partner.”

For more information, please contact Jerry Chavez, MCEDC President/CEO, at (574) 935-8499.

About Marshall County Economic Development Corporation
The Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) is the lead countywide economic development organization servicing Marshall County, the City of Plymouth, and the Towns of Bremen, Bourbon, Argos, Culver, and LaPaz. MCEDC’s mission is to expand and diversify the economy of the county and its communities by fostering investment in new and existing businesses and creating entrepreneurial capacity. Learn more about MCEDC at