Winamac residents got their first look at plans to rebuild the town’s swimming pool during an informational meeting Monday. The existing pool has been closed since 2013 and is considered to be past its useful life.
At Monday’s meeting, Winamac Town Council member Judy Heater told the large audience the town doesn’t have the money to rebuild the pool on its own. Instead, funding would have to come from a variety of sources, primarily private donations and grant funding, in addition to up to $5,000 allocated by the town for planning purposes.
Heater said the time to act is now, since matching grant funds are available through March 31, 2016 from the Community Foundation of Pulaski County through the Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VI Program. She estimates the project could get up to $150,000 from the program, which offers 50 cents for every dollar donated. According to Heater, there is no deadline for when the money has to be spent, so she plans to keep raising funds until the project’s completed.
As for the pool itself, plans call for it to be about the same size as the old one but shallower, ranging from zero depth at one end to five feet deep at the other end. Town manager Brad Zellers said the new pool will be built inside of the old one. Additionally, piping would be installed to potentially allow a splash pad to be built in the future.
Heater noted that since the pool would not get operating funding from the town, admission prices would have to be higher to enable the pool to be self-sufficient. Some residents expressed concern that another outdoor pool would not generate enough income, since it would only be able to be used a limited number of days a year. Heater said an indoor pool would simply be beyond the resources of a town Winamac’s size.
There was also discussion of constructing a pool in cooperation with the Eastern Pulaski Community School Corporation. Heater noted that the school corporation is in the middle of a large construction project and would not be likely to have funds available for a pool project., although she did say she would speak to the school board to discuss the possibility. Additionally, if the new pool were to be funded by the school corporation, it would no longer be eligible for the GIFT VI grant money.
There were also concerns that the design of the pool would limit its use, since lap swimmers would only be able to use a small section of its deep end.
The cost to construct the pool as it’s currently planned is expected not to exceed $643,000. The Community Foundation of Pulaski County is currently accepting donations toward the project.