Pool Costs Nearly Within Reach for Winamac

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

Winamac’s swimming pool rebuilding project continues moving closer to the construction phase.

Members of the town’s park board had expressed concern about the ongoing maintenance costs of the pool once it gets built. But after looking at pool budgets in some other communities, Park Board President Courtney Poor is now confident that the Town of Winamac will be able to cover the costs. He’s expected to tell the town council this evening that operational costs should easily fit into the $40,000 annual budget the town had provided for the old one.

Poor has been working with Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger to gain some information about what other cities and towns are spending on their pools. Berger told the park board last week that she contacted Kentland’s clerk-treasurer, since it’s a similarly-sized community with a relatively new pool. “She didn’t list out specifics, but she says their pool is two years old; it’s $45,000 to operate,” Berger said. “That’s lifeguards, chemicals, concessions. They bring in $34,000.”

The amount of money Winamac will have to budget for its pool will depend in large part on how much it’s able generate from pool admissions. Park board member Jon Chapman was a bit hesitant to say that a large portion of the cost could be covered by admissions. He noted that according to national standards, a pool like the one proposed for Winamac would be large enough to serve an area with 20,000 residents, and there are already pools in a few nearby communities.

However, park board member and town manager Brad Zellers pointed out that the cost to operate Winamac’s pool should be a bit lower than what Kentland spends. “We spent $40,000 before, and obviously it’s going to be less than that because we’re dealing with about half, a little but more than half the water,” he said. “So the efficiencies of whether it’s new pumps, chemical addition, things like that – the efficiency alone’s going to be huge. You know, we were dealing with something 30 years old.”

As for the construction of the pool, the park board believes the remainder of the $643,000 cost will be covered by grant funds. These are expected to become available once the town completes its five-year plan for park and recreation facilities in November.

So far, nearly $280,000 has been raised for the project, through donations from local businesses and individuals, grant funding, and support from the Town of Winamac. The town has also agreed to help with some of the preliminary demolition and construction work, which is expected to reduce the cost by another $150,000.