SAN MANUEL — A new citizens group is rallying to save this eastern Pinal County community’s big swimming pool.

The aging pool on East Main Street is “the only surviving Olympic-size pool in the area,” according to Jeffrey Brown, a member of the Save Our Pool in San Manuel Association, or SOPSMA. He said a pool is a necessary amenity if the community is serious about becoming a leisure destination.

Brown said the pool dates back to the 1960s, was a gift from the local copper mine and once attracted swimmers from all over the region. It’s been closed for the past couple of years. Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District owns it now, and the school board is looking for authority to sell, lease or exchange it and several other surplus properties in a May 18 election.

SOPSMA is asking voters to check “no” for the school district’s Proposition 455 in the mail-only special election. Selling the pool would be “a premature and permanent” mistake, Brown said. SOPSMA is scheduled to meet at the pool parking lot at 1 p.m. Saturday, according to a Facebook post.

School district officials did not respond to PinalCentral’s calls for comment this week. According to the sample ballot, the school board is asking voters for authority to sell, lease or exchange the pool, three other properties in San Manuel and two properties in Mammoth in the May 18 election.

This sample ballot lists properties that Mammoth-San Manuel Unified School District is seeking permission from its voters to sell, including a "new pool." According to an opponent of the proposition, the pool is actually decades old.

The local newspaper, San Manuel Miner, quoted Superintendent Julie Dale-Scott as saying the school district would love nothing more than to sell the pool to an entity that would utilize it for the community’s benefit.

“It was very difficult to close the pool down,” Dale-Scott told the paper, “but it became a burden when the school district’s many attempts to fix it were met with large quotes and no answers as to where 15,000 gallons of water were disappearing daily.

“We did have a reasonable quote from a company that deals with smaller pools to come in and fiberglass over the existing pool surface, but we were not sure this would fix the issue.

“The school district does not have the money to experiment with repairs that may not fix the problem. Furthermore, the district is not going to do something that would possibly become a liability.”

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.