Community backs controversial New Carlisle city pool re-birth

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Community backs controversial New Carlisle city pool re-birth

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has tracked developments with the New Carlisle Pool for more than a year, including stories digging into how much money its lost and residents reactions to keeping it open.

Donations of thousands of dollars and hours of time from community members went into the re-opening of the New Carlisle city pool after a controversial vote to keep it in business even though it has been losing money.

The New Carlisle City Council voted to cut police forces last year but to keep the pool open when the city faced a budget shortfall.

Two of seven council members also voted against opening the city pool again this year because they didn’t want the city spending more than $90,000 on it when it had lost money.

>>RELATED: New Carlisle council approves budget that includes pool

Pools are a risky business, New Carlisle Mayor Mike Lowrey said, but added that other communities like Huber Heights have lost money on their city pools in recent years.

He lead the community fundraising effort to re-open it this summer.

“It’s always been here for the community and that’s why we want to try to keep it that way,” Lowrey said at the pool Tuesday.

The city lost about $5,000 on the pool in 2015 and hopes to break even this year, some city council members have said. It has lost about $76,000 on the pool since 2012.

The community stepped up this spring to raise money for the pool or to donate time to do projects there to offset costs.

More than 40 donations totaling more than $2,600 were raised in an online fundraiser started by Lowrey. From online campaigns and in-person donations, more than $3,000 was used to spruce up the pool.

“This is the best I’ve seen the pool since I can remember,” said manager Katie Herdman, who swam there as a child, worked as a lifeguard as an adult and now runs the community swimming spot.

Lowrey and others also spent hours in the past month painting buildings and replacing outdated structures at the pool in time for the opening over the recent Memorial Day weekend.

The city also saved money by buying used equipment, such as poolside chairs, to put at the pool, Lowrey said.

Pool managers hope to sell 100 season passes and have currently sold just more than 60, Herdman said.

Special events, such as a cannon ball contest set for June 25, and private rentals of the facility will also help the bottom line, Lowrey said.

Families enjoying the water Tuesday said they were happy the pool opened again this year.

“This is our favorite pool,” said Jennifer Heaston of Enon.

The pool provides a local place for kids to go to in the summer, Herdman said, and they get many visitors who ride bikes or walk to the pool.

Sunnie Jenkins is a mother who regularly takes her children to the pool in the summer, but as a real estate agent she said it’s also a draw for new families looking for a place to live in Clark County.

“A lot of times when people are looking for homes, they are looking for whats in the area, asking, ‘What’s fun for kids in the area?’ So I think it will definitely help out that they do have somewhere local to go,” Jenkins said.

City council will keep a close eye on the budget of the pool and will look over the money later this year before they determine if the pool will re-open in 2017, Lowrey said.