Winamac Pool Committee Touts Fund Raising Success

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

Fund raising for Winamac’s community pool project is now well past the halfway point. Members of the Pool Committee presented an update on the $643,000 pool rebuilding project Tuesday.

One of the biggest developments affecting the project going forward is the establishment of a Winamac Park Board. Project organizer Judy Heater expects the new board will play a big role both in raising the rest of the money needed to build the pool and overseeing the pool once it’s built. “It opens up lots of opportunities for grants because we made it a Park and Recreation Board, which includes the pool and the park, and it should be,” she says. “That’s exactly where it should be. It is with State Board of Accounts and every other government entity, so now ours is too.”

So far, $277,378 has been raised for the project. Nearly $95,000 of that has come from donations from 72 local residents and businesses. Another $32,575 was added thanks to a matching grant from the Community Foundation of Pulaski County through the Lilly Endowment’s GIFT VI Program. On top of that, the Town of Winamac has set aside $150,000. The town has also agreed to help with some of the preliminary demolition and construction work, saving another $150,000. That leaves around $216,000 that still needs to be raised.

Heater says she’s been discussing potential grant funding opportunities with Lafayette’s parks superintendent, who knows of a few resources available specifically for these types of projects, “These people that she’s going to put us in touch with, that’s what they do. Things for kids, recreation, communities, safety – that’s what their grants are all about. And if we could get a $200,000 one right away, that brings us pretty darn close, and then apply for maybe another one in another direction, I could see us getting the rest of our money pretty much by grants.”

The Pool Committee does plan to keep up its efforts to raise funds from the community, though. Committee members are planning two more fund raising events, a Chicken Bash on June 8 and a Fish Fry and Auction on September 23. They’re also looking for individuals willing to match others’ donations, up to a certain amount.

Their goal is to raise enough money not only to build the pool, but also to start setting funds aside for its continued operation. While there’s currently a pass-through fund at the Community Foundation of Pulaski County to accept donations to rebuild the pool, organizers are also working to set up a permanent fund for long-term maintenance costs. Heater adds that covering those costs will also require higher admission fees than what the town charged at the old pool.

However, she says the new pool should cost a lot less to maintain, “By having the zero entry to five foot, it will be way less to run it, way less to fill it with water, to heat the water, to staff it, everything. The costs will be way less for everything because it’s not a 12-foot pool.”

The new pool will also include a small splash pad area near the shallow entry, and plumbing will be included for a larger splash pad to be added in the future.

If funding goals are met, the Pool Committee plans to start construction on the new pool next year.