CHINOOK — There isn't much going on at the Chinook pool right now, but while it's covered in snow, there is a group of Chinook residents working to save it for summers to come. The Friends of the Pool & Park Foundation was formed in 2020 to help restore the 47-year-old pool that has a lot of memories for people like Chinook native and FOPPF spokesperson Heather DePriest.
"I lived out of town and didn't go to the pool as much as I'd have liked, but we did spend a lot of time there," DePriest said. "Back in 2019, my kids went down to the pool for open swim and one of them came back with a chunk of the pool. I thought, How bad is the pool? I really need to go kind of look at it. We found that it was in pretty rough shape. It's at that point where we are going to see some serious issues with that pool in the very near future if something isn't done."
With the pool not getting any younger, it is showing signs of wear and tear with cracks, broken parts and much more. The group needs to raise about $1.55 million to complete the project that aims to repair the pool and the park, which see about 5,700 swimmers each summer according to their website.
"If we wait any longer, the price of the pool will go up," treasurer Jessica Aberg said. "With inflation, if we wait much longer, we may have to dig up the pool and start all over. That could be more towards 3.2 million. The sooner we get this done, the cheaper it will be."
They've raised just over $200,000 so far. Not only does the pool provide something to do in the summer but students get the chance to use it during the first few weeks of school as well.
"The school uses it for two weeks," DePriest added. "It's very important for a lot of those kids because they may not have the opportunity to go to the pool throughout the summer. They really enjoy that. It's a very positive thing for the school system and the town. We've got to rally behind this and help this thing that a lot of people care deeply about."
To try and help raise extra money for the project, a $750,000 bond is being voted on. Ballots are due back by February 14th. According to the group's website, the cost per tax bill would be approximately $49.90 per year and is only for precincts in the Chinook and surrounding areas, or within the Chinook School Districts. The bond would be to complete reparation of the pool and park, not for additional items.
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