- October 13, 2021
U.S. Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps visited Pasco County in late April for the grand opening of the nation’s first Crystal Lagoons amenity at Epperson, a Wesley Chapel community developed by Tampa-based Metro Development Group.
Metro licensed technology from Miami-based Crystal Lagoons to bring the 7.5-acre recreational facility to the Tampa Bay area. The Epperson lagoon will allow residents and guests of the community to swim, kayak, paddleboard and even sail in crystal-clear, turquoise water that is free of the chlorine feel found in swimming pools.
Phelps is Crystal Lagoons’ global ambassador — a fitting choice, considering the swimmer holds the Olympic record for winning more medals, 28, than any other athlete in the history of the Games — and his presence drew 3,500 attendees to the grand opening.
“It fits hand in glove with him,” says Greg Singleton, president of Metro Development Group. “One of Michael’s initiatives is to promote people getting into the water and doing active things in the water, and for us, having seen so many lagoons, we really wanted to ‘activate’ ours and have people go in the water.”
Singleton declined to disclose the budget for the project, saying, “It’s not cheap, but it’s not as expensive as building an eight-acre pool. It’s cost-effective, I would say. And now that we’ve done it, it should be cheaper the next time around – we won’t be paying the ‘dumb tax.’”
That’s good, because Singleton says Metro plans to develop more Crystal Lagoons in the area, including several in Pasco and Hillsborough counties, one in Fort Myers, one in Manatee County and a couple in Polk County.