The Winamac Pool Committee continues to raise money for the town’s swimming pool rebuilding project, but confusion remains about how exactly the project will proceed. A fish fry fundraiser is taking place this evening from 4:00 to 7:00 at the Winamac VFW. The need for private fundraising has increased in recent weeks, after the Town of Winamac pulled its official support.
The pool project was the subject of a lively conversation during Monday’s town council meeting. Council member Judy Heater, who’s also on the Pool Committee, called for a joint meeting with the town’s park board. “We still want a meeting,” she said. “If you don’t want to show up, I guess that’s your choice.”
“Both entities voted no on the thing, so we don’t feel there’s any reason to have a meeting,” Council President Tom Murray replied. Heater added that there were still questions to be asked and said the Pool Committee would have its own public meeting, with or without council members.
A big factor in the council’s decision to pull its financial support had to do with a sudden drop in county income tax revenues. Town officials believe it will be a few years before the problem is fixed and the town will be able to afford to maintain a pool. But the town’s agreement with the Community Foundation of Pulaski County requires that the pool be built by the end of 2020.
“The funding won’t be there for at least three years,” council member Alvin Parish said Monday.
“You don’t know that. You can’t know that,” replied Heater. “So right now, you’ve quite effectively tied our hands, but we’re not quitting.”
There are also questions about what effect the town’s decision to pull its support will have on the donations raised so far by the pool committee. Community Foundation Executive Director Wendy Rose has stressed that the money will stay in the fund until the end of 2020. Still, it was suggested that the park board might want to start thinking about other uses for the money. But Heater said she still hasn’t given up on the pool. “We have questions, and we have proposals. . . . And there are some other options.”
There’s also some disagreement about whether the town still has to donate the $150,000 it had pledged for the pool to the community foundation fund. Council President Murray thought it didn’t. “We committed the $150,000. The terms have not been met for the town to pay that $150,000,” he said.
“That remains to be seen, I think,” replied Heater.
Earlier this month, park board members members said they wanted to meet with the Pool Committee to discuss some potential next steps. However, only one park board member expressed interest in a joint meeting with the town council, according to Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger.