MADRAS, Ore. -

Jefferson County voters on Tuesday approved a five-year tax proposal by the Madras Aquatic Center to ensure year-round swimming and recreation programs.

Voters narrowly passed the measure though, by just 124 votes.

"Whew! Finally!" MAC Operations Manager Carolyn Harvey said with a laugh Wednesday.

NewsChannel 21 visited the swim center to see what this means for the nearly 5-year-old facility.

"Now the real work is going to start to happen, because now we have to start moving these programs forward, getting this place sustainable,"  Harvey said. "And I'm really excited about it."

Voters helped create the recreation district in 2006, then, two years later, the pool opened.

It's also made way for basketball, softball and soccer programs, among many others, in Madras.

"Having the capacity for this area and a facility like this to create some programs to help everybody is huge," Harvey said

About 100 people a day use the building for everything from swimming to Weight Watchers to Zumba, and it's even attracting tourists.

"I'm hoping our community is seeing that, and that's one of the reasons they are supporting us," Harvey said.

It's the second time MAC has asked voters for money -- a similar levy failed last November.

"(We're) so appreciative of the volunteers and the men and women who put in so much time and worked so hard for this," said Heidi Boyle, MAC board member. "We have a lot of great people in our community working hard for our pool."

Since opening, the facility has never had a maintenance fund to repair or fix things.

"If something were to happen to something like that, we would have to shut down, because we have no backup dollars for that," Harvey said.

And now it doesn't have to worry, at least for five years.

"I think the community is just going to have a beautiful facility open year-round, forever," said Sally Gauvin, MAC board chairwoman. "So this is just really the icing on the cake."

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jefferson County is usually ranked last among all Oregon counties, in terms of community health.

This year, the county moved up a spot, but still ranks in the bottom two.

MAC officials hope having the facility will change those statistics.