Published On: Thu, May 4th, 2017

Wausa Swimming pool overhaul is being considered

WAUSA — Kids in the Wausa area have enjoyed the luxury of having a community swimming pool since the day it opened, but the Wausa Swimming Pool is on the verge of needing a replacement.
The swimming pool here was first constructed in 1959, serving the Wausa community for over 57 years. The pool had some updates and repairs done in the 1980s, but has since become a cause for concern, say members of a group that are working to upgrade the local facility.
Two life-long community members said they remember the days when the pool hosted many swim meets where surrounding towns would gather.
They also remember all eight of their kids spending a lot of time there in the summers.
Community member Jane Wilbeck, a former lifeguard at the pool, remembers waking up at 11:30 a.m. on summer days, eating lunch and heading to the pool by noon.
She would swim until 6 p.m. when the pool closed for supper and then return by 6:30 p.m. to swim until the pool closed.
Her daughters, Kendra and Macy, spent a lot of time at the pool as well as holding lifeguard positions.
Two of the Pool Committee members were employed as lifeguards/managers for nearly 10 years combined with memories of ‘wall ball’ and ‘minnow’ still fresh in their minds.
The committee came together almost five years ago with an idea for a community run/walk event.
“We thought this would be a fun addition to the Labor Day agenda in September. We decided that the proceeds from this event would be used to start a fund for swimming pool repairs,” said committee member Kendra Suhr.
After three years of fundraising, the committee felt a new pool would be a better goal, considering the condition of the pool and bathhouse.
“We hosted run/walk events as part of the Labor Day line-up for three consecutive years,” Carrie Dawson said.  “In 2016, our fourth year holding a fundraiser, we hosted a Slip ‘N Slide Kickball tournament. Our most recent fundraiser was a ‘Trolls’ movie night at the auditorium.”
Suhr said they look forward to hosting another kickball tournament over Labor Day this fall. The group is grateful for all who have donated and participated in events, she said.
In late 2016 the committee started attending Village Board meetings.
The Village had received a large sum of money from the Anderson sister’s estate.  It is still undecided, by the Village board, as to where the majority of these funds will go, however.
“Our committee is currently seeking $700,000 of these funds to use toward a new pool and bathhouse,” said committee member Carrie Dawson. “Our committee sent out a survey several months ago asking the community if they would support this project as well as a sales tax increase of .5 percent. We did receive positive feedback to both questions.”
Christiansen Construction Co., of Pender came to survey the pool and bathhouse.
“After examining the pool structure and bathhouse, the contractors informed us of the amount of work that would need to be done just to get this facility up to ADA standards as well as to meet the needs of our community,” Dawson said.
The  pool proposal is published on another page inside this week’s Gazette.
The construction company, which has built several swimming pools in northeast Nebraska,  proposed four options for the Village of Wausa to consider.
The swimming pool, in its current state, will not be able to operate much longer, committee members say.
The Village of Wausa will be sending out a survey in the next couple of weeks asking for the community’s feedback as to whether they should commit $700,000 to this project.
Currently the local group has raised $21,682.24 while still actively seeking donations and hosting fundraisers.
“Once the pool project would get underway and funds are committed by the Village, we can apply for grants to help fund the remaining cost of a new pool and bathhouse,” Dawson said. “We have discussed proposing a sales tax increase of .5 percent or purchasing bonds to help finance this project.”
“We, as a committee and members of this community, know that this is a large sum of money; however, if we do nothing and let our pool continue in its current state, Wausa will not have one,” Suhr said. “Our kids will have to go elsewhere to swim. This will have a negative effect on our local economy. Our youth will not have job opportunities in the summer. If we build a new facility, Wausa could potentially draw in other kids and their families from surrounding communities. We have also discussed having a small freezer in the new facility where there would be concessions available to provide a little more income each day. Our group is passionate about this project, not just for our own kids, but for this entire community. We want our community to grow and look for support from our community. We would appreciate your support by saying ‘YES’ to committing $700,000 to a new pool project. If you would like to donate to this project or have more concerns please contact one of our Pool Committee members.”
Committee members are: Kendra Suhr, Carrie Dawson, Renae Cunningham, and Sarah Anderson.