Winamac Park Board Approves Pool Project Funding Agreement

Rendering of rebuilt Winamac pool.
Rendering of rebuilt Winamac pool.

Funding arrangements for Winamac’s swimming pool rebuilding project continue moving ahead. The Winamac Park Board Thursday approved a non-permanent fund agreement with the Community Foundation of Pulaski County, pending a few changes.

Community Foundation Executive Director Wendy Rose told board members that the fund has already been collecting donations, “So I think what you’re really looking at is to [approve] the fund agreement that represents the sponsorship of the foundation for this project, the details on how it would be carried out. And we already have about $129,000 raised through the Pool Committee’s efforts. So we have the funds, we just need the paperwork.”

Rose said the agreement has been in the works for several months. But over that time, there have been a few changes in who exactly is entering into it. Previous plans called for the volunteer Pool Committee to oversee the project. Then, the Town of Winamac agreed to take it over. With the establishment of the park board, the pool project became its responsibility, leaving it up to the new board to approve the agreement on behalf of the town.

References to the Pool Committee still exist in the current draft the the document, though, and the park board voted to allow board president Courtney Poor to sign the agreement, once it’s updated to refer to the park board. It will then go to the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors for final approval.

Park board member John Chapman felt the agreement needs to move ahead. “I think the necessity is to make sure that we have the fiscal responsibility and to fulfill the 501(c)(3) status to the donors that have already written checks, that did so in good faith,” he said. “This needs to happen for their contribution to be deductible.”

On top the the fund at the Community Foundation, the Town of Winamac has also pledged $150,000 to the project but is keeping it in its own accounts, where it will earn interest. Town Attorney Justin Schramm asked park board members Thursday to decide how that money will actually be used, “When we start the construction phase and some of these expenses become due and payable, what account do we take from? Is the Community Foundation going to give it over to the town, so we can lump that in with our $150,000, then we have close to $300,000 in funds to work with? At what point do we start construction on this? Do we wait until we have all the funds in place? Do we start it now, since we have almost half the amount that’s needed?”

Since the town will most likely need to secure some type of matching grant before construction can begin, board members decided that the town’s $150,000 contribution would likely be used first. That may leave some of the private donations left over to be place in a permanent fund, which will be set up once the pool opens to collect money for large-scale repair and maintenance costs in the future. Project organizer Judy Heater says the day-to-day operating expenses will be covered by the town.