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Swimming star Michael Phelps coming to Crystal Lagoon

By Susan Taylor Martin
The nation's first Crystal Lagoon, at Epperson in Pasco County, has been filled with 16 million gallons of purified water and will soon be ready for residents' use. [Courtesy of Metro Development Group]

WESLEY CHAPEL — The nation’s first Crystal Lagoon has been filled, ready for a Jan. 5 ribbon cutting and a scheduled appearance this spring by Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps.

Metro Development Group said Tuesday that the 7.5-acre lagoon in its Epperson master planned community in southern Pasco County now contains what has been estimated as 16 million gallons of clear, purified water.

Photos released by Metro, which began filling the lagoon in November, show water lapping against sandy man-made beaches dotted with newly planted palms.

"We have celebrated many milestones with Crystal Lagoons over the past two years and we are proud to have earned the distinction of being the first developer to inaugurate a Crystal Lagoons’ amenity in the U.S," Greg Singleton, Metro’s president, said in a statement.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Nation’s first Crystal Lagoon to open in spring 2018 in Wesley Chapel

Tampa-based Metro has said the lagoon represents an investment of between $5 million and $10 million. The company has four other Crystal Lagoons planned in Florida, including one expected to break ground soon in its SouthShore Bay community in southern Hillsborough County.

Metro said Epperson residents will ‘‘soon" be able to use the lagoon, but didn’t give any dates except for the Jan. 5 ribbon cutting ceremony. Phelps, the now-retired swimmer whose 28 medals make him the most decorated Olympian ever, is slated to appear at a grand opening in "early spring," Metro said.

Miami-based Crystal Lagoons, whose signature projects are in Chile, Egypt and numerous other countries, says each lagoon uses less water than a park of the same size and 30 times less water than an 18-hole golf course. Sensors control the quality of the water, which requires 100 times less chemicals than a traditional swimming pool and uses up to 50 times less energy than conventional pool-filtration systems, the company says.

"As the first Crystal Lagoons’ project in the U.S., the Epperson lagoon will serve as the premier showcase in the U.S. for the world’s top amenity that is reinventing the way residential communities are being developed," Kevin Morgan, executive vice president of Crystal Lagoons, said in the statement.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Here’s a sneak peek at the Crystal Lagoon project in Wesley Chapel

Epperson’s lagoon, which will include a water slide, restaurant, swim-up bar, tidal pool and "yoga lawn," is the centerpiece amenity of the 2,000-home community at Curley and Overpass roads, about three miles north of State Road 54.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate