It was a great privilege and honor to be present at Corona del Mar High School recently to unveil the newly renovated Marian Bergeson Aquatic Complex.
And it was also a privilege and honor to share the stage that day with Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, who was instrumental in the city’s participation in that project.
Leslie completes her final term as a Newport Beach council member, but she is running for the board of the Orange County Water District, and I hope the city’s loss will be the Water District’s gain. Leslie Daigle has my endorsement and I urge you to vote for her in this election.
Opened in 1990, the MBAC was used virtually daily, year after year, for high school sports and PE programs, community classes and activities, and lifeguard training. This flagship facility attracted top notch coaching with in turn created strong aquatic programs. It was an incalculable benefit to an entire generation of Newporters, but all that activity took its toll. By 2005, it was clear the complex needed some major maintenance work.
In 2006 I asked if Leslie could join the joint city-district-community board that oversees the MBAC, and take the lead on securing the city’s participation in renovating it. She did, and I and the aquatic community are grateful for her diligent work on the project.
Now the $2.8 million, four-stage renovation is complete. The pool has been reconditioned and upgraded, as have the complex’s buildings and spectator areas. The improvements were paid for by the City of Newport Beach, the Newport-Mesa School District and the generosity of donations from our community.
Many people contributed their time, effort and expertise to the enterprise, and the credit belongs to everyone. The strength of the collaborative effort made it happen. I highlight Leslie’s role only to point out that as with the Upper Bay Restoration Project and our now extended John Wayne Airport Settlement Agreement, Leslie was able to get hold of a complicated issue and work with city officials, a range of other government bodies and agencies, and the community to get the job done.
Her abilities are much needed and would be put to good use on the Orange County Water District board. And we’ll know that we’ll always have the water to fill the new and improved Marian Bergeson Aquatic Complex pool!
(Marian Bergeson is a former Newport-Mesa district trustee, Assembly member, state senator, Orange County supervisor and state secretary of education).