Winamac Park Board Considers Pool Project

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

The Winamac Park Board is taking steps to formally take over the town’s swimming pool project. Over the past several months, efforts have been made to raise money to rebuild the pool, and a fund has been set up at the Community Foundation of Pulaski County to collect donations.

While the town has decided to oversee the pool itself, rather than leaving it to be run entirely by volunteers, Town Attorney Justin Schramm says it’s now up to Winamac’s new park board to put that arrangement into writing, so it will be able to use those funds. “It was the town council’s hope that the pool be under the Board of Parks and Recreation because that’s where we see it under most if not all other towns that operate town pools,” Schramm told the park board last week. “I say this because [Community Foundation Executive Director] Wendy [Rose] and I have been working on a couple different agreements. The Community Foundation has offered to run what’s called a non-permanent fund agreement for no cost, to accept donations for us. That’s a non-permanent fund agreement.”

Schramm presented board members with a draft of that agreement for their review. They plan to meet in special session on Thursday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m., in order to make an official decision before the Community Foundation’s June Board of Directors meeting.

Now that Winamac officially has a park board, it has some new opportunities for grants for the pool rebuilding project, according to town manager and park board member Brad Zellers. “Monticello had one for their pool,” he said. “It was a match grant, a $200,000 match. They put $200,000 in, they had $400,000 then. It was a 50-50. They thought that was fairly easy to get, and we shouldn’t have any problem getting that.”

Winamac’s project is estimated to cost a total of $643,000, although in-kind work from the town may lower that. So far, the community pool committee led by town council member Judy Heater has raised over $275,000, through a combination of private donations, grants and funding from the town.

Zellers adds that if the town’s able to get the grant, that would just about cover the cost of construction, “After the in-kind work, you’re probably looking at maybe $500,000 to build that pool, and if you go with those numbers, she’s very close right now. You know, people, I think, will be more apt to donate to it now that we have this board formed, it is moving forward, the Town of Winamac has backed this project to yes, they want to see it. So that is truly going to help.”

To help cover long-term maintenance costs once the pool is built, project organizers, along with the town attorney, are also working to set up a permanent fund at the Community Foundation.