Friday, April 8, 2016

A Pool for Bridgeport

Channel Cat   Water Has Shaped How We Play

Bridgeport Leader July 31, 1980
A Swimming Pool For Bridgeport?
The Bridgeport Leader reported that there was a good possibility if there was enough community support for the project that Bridgeport could have a swimming pool.  Two young men of influence, who asked to remain in the background, approached the Bridgeport Leader to survey community opinion in the manner. However, if community support was shown, they would devote their efforts in researching the feasibility of a swimming pool for the community.
“The Bridgeport Leader would like to be the first to put its name on the dotted line backing such a project; we think the community wants and needs a public swimming pool.”
The paper then inserted a coupon that was to be cut out, filled in and returned to the paper with name, age, and address of people who would like to explore the possibility of Bridgeport having its own swimming pool.

August 7, 1980
The paper reported support for looking into the possibility of a swimming pool for the community was slowly but surely mounting. The leader had received 50 coupons, notes, cards or letters in favor that represented a total of 189 people. Ages in favor of a swimming pool ranged from seven years old to 72 years old. There were also a couple in their 60s, two in their 50s, three couples in their 40s and several in their 30s. The leader continued to ask people to fill out a coupon because the amount received thus far was not impressive enough to indicate there was general widespread support.
Nancy Akers circulated a petition and as of that time she had 72 names making a total of at least 261 people in favor; again this was not an impressive enough number to look into the possibility of a swimming pool.

August 14, 1980
The possibility of a swimming pool for Bridgeport moved into high gear when J. Lofton and B. Gray announced they would explore every avenue of information to achieve such a goal. They said that once the pool was built, concessions and fees would help meet the operating expenses. They thought it would be located within the town allowing easy walking access to the facility. Businesses and individuals in the community would be asked for donations. Gray denied they were representing the city government on this project even though both men are aldermen.

August 28, 1980
To date the Bridgeport Leader had received 185 coupons and letters supporting the project; this represented 722 people. Several people wrote to the paper indicating that a swimming pool would be safer than the river or gravel pits that they swam in when they were younger.

September 11, 1980
More coupons and letters were sent to the Leader in support of the swimming pool project.  As of that date the Leader had received 217 coupons and letters in support of the pool. This represented 837 people.

September 18, 1980
The pool committee including Jerry Lofton, Bill Gray, JC Middagh, Bob Walsh, Bill Hardacre and Bob Staver met with Paddock Pools Inc., Oklahoma City. This firm had constructed the pool at Lawrenceville in 1958. According to the firm, a 42 x 82’ pool would accommodate 235 people. The estimated cost was $280,000 for an outdoor pool. An Olympic size pool would be 162 foot long.
Paddock Pools conducted a survey of Bridgeport and the surrounding rural area and found that on a peak day, 220 people from Bridgeport and 150 rural people would  want to use the pool. Under the proposed plan, one half of the pool would be used for a diving area; however some of the committee felt more footage would be needed in the shallow area.
The committee had narrowed down the site to five locations all in or around the city. It was felt that two or three acres were needed for the pool as well as a play area to be developed later on. According to the figures presented by the pool firm, 50% of the pool cost would be for filtering and piping; the building of the pool itself would take about 35% of the cost while the remaining 15% would be needed for the bath house and fencing. To get started the company wanted $1500 for consulting and soil testing fees.

Bridgeport leader October 9, 1980
Bridgeport City Councilmen voted to donate $1000 to the Bridgeport Township pool fund.

October 16, 1980
To raise money for the pool the swimming pool committee had two booths at the annual Halloween Festival on October 25. One was located downtown and one was at the firehouse. The booths allowed people to donate to the swimming pool project or to sign pledge cards. The committee was then in the process of having not-for-profit corporation papers drawn up. Lawrence Gognat and Rob McKinley were appointed to co-chair all fundraising activities. The committee was checking into two different grants that might be obtained to help with the funding.

December 18, 1980

The committee set a goal of $250,000 for construction. Bob Walsh reported that the committee had selected a 25 meter pool as a size to be constructed.  He said this size will provide ample swimming space and diving area and would be adequate for competition swimming. For the pool to be ready and in operation by summer the goal had to be reached by April.

Ed Note: Unfortunately the goal was never reached.