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Community keeping pool open
Fundraising continues to keep the Willows swimming pool open the rest of this season and next year.
"We're at just around $28,000," Recreation Director Carol Lemenager said. "I am confident in that figure."
She said the goal is to raise at least $30,000, so there might be some carryover money into next year's budget.
Costs to operate the pool fluctuate depending on if something breaks, Lemenager said, but she did carry over $4,000 last year.
This year, though, an extra $5,000 had to be budgeted to pay a contractor to put chemicals into the pool since the Public Works employee who did it retired last year, she said.
However, hot dog sales at the pool are bringing in money with the help of local service organizations and clubs.
These groups also put on free swim days for local children so they do not have to put down $2 to swim at the pool next to Jensen Park.
On July 27, the Willows Rotary Club is providing a free swim day and its members will man the hot dog sale booth that date as well.
"We are involved because it is a community pool," Rotary President Lynda Kelly said Monday. "We support it as a community organization."
Kelly added with government funding being low at the state, county and city level, the only way to keep something like the pool open is with a community effort.
She also said the Rotary Club will be selling Thunderhill Raceway T-shirts in coordination with Terry Taylor-Vodden, whose husband is the executive director of the raceway.
Water aerobics instructor Kathy Meckfessel also assists Lemenager in the fundraising efforts.
She uses the pool for some of her classes, Meckfessel said, but believes it is important to youth swim teams and children.
Without it, "I don't know what they'd do," she said. "It is important to keep it open and I try to help Carol anyway I can."
The Elks Lodge Auxiliary also sponsors free swim days and is raising funds for the pool.
Spokeswoman Alice Bernard said her organization "supports it for the young people in the community."
There is not a lot for children and teens to do in Willows, Bernard said, so the pool offers them an activity.
The free swim days also give some children a chance to swim who might not otherwise be able to do it, she said.
Additional free swim days are scheduled for July 20, July 27, July 28, Aug. 8 and Aug. 10, Lemenager said.
Contact Rick Longley at 934-6800 or email@example.com.