Renovations are under way at the Optimist Club Pool on Patrick Street so that it can continue to be a place where memories are created and summer fun can bloom. The pool looks to open around the middle of July.
The Optimist Club has been a part of the city since 1946, providing generations of children with a safe place for summer activities along with teaching swimming lessons and providing youth with their first jobs.
Optimist Club member Bryan Johnson said the public will be surprised about the renovations taking place at the pool.
“We are re-plastering the pool, putting new coping in, a new deck and new fencing,” he said. “We have huge slides that are going to be on the deep end for the kids. I think that they will really like that. They are like 10 feet tall. Then we have another small slide for the younger kids.
“There is a little play area for them to play cornhole and some other stuff,” he said. “It is going to be a lot of fun for the kids.”
Along with the work seen on the outside, updates have been done to the pool’s infrastructure such as getting everything re-plumbed and replacing pumps. However, help is still needed to get everything finished.
“Right now, I am needing a little bit of extra money to redo the pool, half to update it and redo the bathrooms and a few things in there,” Johnson said. “We need to put a new roof on it because it leaks really bad and landscape everything. That is where I really need some help needing some donations from anyone.
“A $20 donation will purchase one plant and get it planted,” he said. “Even small donations help.”
Johnson said he is grateful for the city’s continued support over the years of the historic cultural asset that has been enjoyed by so many people. Last October, the Optimist Pool was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Waxahachie Community Development Corporation. In documents submitted to the city, the re-plastering of the pool, new fencing, new decking, new bathrooms, new equipment and building totaled around $325,000. At the time, the club had already secured $125,000 in outside funding.
Johnson said the renovations will help the club continue to serve the community for years to come.
“We have this pool for two reasons,” he said. “One, we want the kids to learn how to swim. We have very affordable swim lessons for the parents to bring their kids to. The last thing that we would want is something to happen to a kid that does not know how to swim. So, it is crucial to catch them when they are early and teach them how to swim.
“The second thing is the money we raise at the Optimist Pool goes to a scholarship fund that we give every year. It is like $1,000 per kid. We usually do two to three scholarships per year depending on how much money we make. That is a really good thing that we do here.”
Johnson praised the generations of dedicated club members, pool staff and volunteers who work to keep the pool open each summer. He said the spirit can be seen from the top to the bottom, starting with the club’s pool manager, Noel Baskin, who not only manages the pool but does all of the lifeguard certifications. Johnson describes Baskin as “a very important” part of the pool’s operation.
For more information about the pool, dates that it will be open, swimming lessons, admission prices, how to donate or the Optimist Club, visit the club’s website at www.waxahachieoptimists.com. Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Optimist Club is 100-percent volunteer-run, nonprofit organization that works to provide service and opportunities for community youth. The pool is located at 219 Patrick St. in Waxahachie.