Parks board halts indoor pool project, still in search of lead fundraiser

Managing Editor

An indoor pool has been put on temporary hold due to fundraising struggles.

The potential community center addition remains without a project lead following a brief informational meeting last week.
The Jefferson parks and recreation department held a session at the Greene County community center in an effort to drum up interest for a potential addition of indoor pool. The parks and rec board initially proposed constructing the pool thanks to a generous donation, but is asking for community members or an outside entity to help spearhead the remaining fundraising.
The meeting was scarcely attended, with no particular community member stepping up.

The parks board revealed a multi-tiered plan in late summer, discussing three different pool types. Each project would cost more than $4 million, according to rough blueprints from the OPN Architects firm. The options included anywhere from four to six lanes, a splash pad area and even a free-time type pool separate from a lap pool.

There are no specific guidelines as to who and what can step forward, parks and rec director Dennis Hammen said in September, and there’s no limit to how many can get involved with the fundraising efforts. The city is in search of persons, businesses or even non-profits to come forward and offer their passion and expertise.

“(We are looking) for anybody who is interested,” Hammen said. “We have some people that are interested in the project, but we haven’t had anybody come forward yet. We are making sure we didn’t miss anybody, we haven’t seen a grassroots movement to move it forward.”

After lengthy discussion, it was deemed necessary to seek an outside source to lead fundraising efforts. Despite that realization, generating interest among potential volunteers has been a struggle, Hammen said.

“Maybe the timing for this project is not right with other large scale community projects like the jail and the library on people’s minds,” the director said. “A concern about the yearly maintenance costs has often been mentioned; it was noted that many community projects, like the community center itself, were multi-year endeavors and this may take time to materialize.”

Hammen stressed how the parks board is willing to stay patient, they want to make sure they spend the more than $845,000 gifted to the city by the Rory  Authenreith estate in a wise manner.
A quick push benefits no one.

“I think the (board) will move into a ‘wait and see’ attitude,” Hammen said.

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