Winamac’s pool project was officially put to rest by the town’s park board Thursday. Members voted to stop pursuing the pool project and focus on a splash pad instead. Board member and town manager Brad Zellers abstained from the vote. This follows similar action by the town council last month.
Board President Chris Schramm noted that it’s a tough issue, but it comes down to dollars and cents. “I asked them a couple years ago, ‘Hey, we’re talking about this. If you’re not going to fund it, then, you know –’ And they stepped up and took a vote and decided for the best interests of the town, that’s the direction we need to go. So I appreciate that,” Schramm said.
He said he’s had a lot of people ask him about a potential splash pad, but such a project would depend on whether the money that’s been raised for the pool could be made available. “I’m not saying we’re going to start with a splash pad tomorrow,” Schramm explained. “I’m just saying we’d like to at least move this along, if that’s the direction we’re going to go, because, like I said, the first and foremost thing in my opinion is get those restrooms built, and we haven’t even gotten the final decision on that. The splash pad people were wanting to come this meeting, and I said no because we don’t know about the money. There’s no sense giving any presentation what we have and our options are until we figure out the direction we’re going to go.”
Currently, almost $150,000 in pool donations is being held by the Community Foundation of Pulaski County. The agreement between the foundation and the park board runs through the end of next year, but both sides could agree to terminate it early, according to Town Attorney Justin Schramm. That could potentially allow those funds to be redirected to other projects with similar objectives. Justin Schramm explained that for that to happen, the community foundation wants a letter from the town council and park board. Thursday’s vote allows that to move ahead.
Meanwhile, Zellers told the rest of the park board that Council Member Judy Heater, who’s been spearheading the pool project for the past several years, had one more proposal. “Judy and one other council member have requested – they’ve talked to someone, I believe, out of Logan area, about maybe 10 years down in the future, on putting a plan together, to do something with a splash pad/pool combination,” Zellers said. “They would like to know if you guys would like to meet on that and listen, and ask the council, too.”
President Schramm said he wouldn’t mind talking about a splash pad, but felt there’s already been a lot of discussion on the pool project. Town officials’ main concern with the pool is that there isn’t currently enough money to operate it, due to issues with Pulaski County’s local income taxes.