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Fundraising begins for Darlington pool
darlington pool

DARLINGTON – The existing pool in Darlington was built in 1958. It has gone through two renovations: the pool in 1986 and the bathhouse in 2000. Most pools only have a life expectancy of 40-50 years. Being over 62 years old and continuing to show its age, the Darlington Pool Committee is looking for help in donations toward the building of a new pool and building a better future in summertime fun.

The current pool’s condition has reached a critical stage in its life. It has numerous ADA and Code Compliance issues that need to be addressed. The pool is out of level and is tilting downhill. The bathhouse is not ADA compliant. The decking has shifted over time, creating multiple tripping hazards. The main pool leaks 6,000+ gallons of water per day and there are cracks in the pool vessel or expansion joints.

Burbach Aquatics, Inc. has been working with the Darlington Pool Committee to come up with a conceptual site plan for the pool. Burbach Aquatics, Inc. has been providing municipalities with professional design and consulting services for new aquatic facilities ever since it was established in 1978. It has worked with Shullsburg, Mineral Point, Fennimore, Lancaster, Lena, Ill., and Warren, Ill., on their pool projects.

The plan for the new pool will be to have a steel reinforced concrete pool vessel to withstand the environmental factors of Wisconsin, state-of-the-art filtration and disinfection system, redesigned bathhouse, zero-depth water entry, five 25-meter lap lanes, one-meter diving tower, 11 ft. diving depth, heated pool, sun protective shade features, splash pad, zip line, updated life guard stations, and twisting and turning water slide.

The City of Darlington did a technical evaluation of the pool in 2018. The opinion of construction costs to replace and update the existing facility to make it within code was $2.916 million. The base project construction cost is $3.658 million. That would be for the ADA renovation of the bathhouse, zero-depth entry, five-lane lap pool and new mechanical building. The fully funded project construction cost is $4.45 million.

The project is a multi-phased project. The timeline is to break ground in the fall of 2022 after the swimming season and have it completed just in time for the summer of 2023. The goal is to continue to have the current pool open during this summer and next summer while donations continue to come in.

The pool is not going to raise property taxes. It will be fully funded through a combination of grants, in-kind donations, and the capital campaign. That is why the Darlington Pool Committee is starting their capital campaign.

Egg My Yard fundraiser is fun for all ages. It works by purchasing the amount of stuffed eggs you would like. The committee will then hide those eggs in your yard for all to enjoy. You can purchase 25 eggs for $25, 50 eggs for $50 or 75 eggs for $75. Select a date for them to hide the eggs. Those dates are: March 26, 27 or 28 or April 1, 2 or 3 or Easter Sunday of 50 eggs for $100. To book your eggs, please call or text Mary Jo Erickson at 608-482-0547 by March 18. Payment will be taken upon confirmation of order. Checks can be made payable to Darlington Pool Fund c/o Mary Jo Erickson.

Another event that is taking place is a Craft Fair on May 8 at Swimming Pool Park. If there is good weather, tours will be given of the pool to show the issues and reasons for the new pool. Details on the event will be coming later.

The benefits of having a pool in a community helps with its economic development. Pools are all about family, fun and fitness. According to Health Fitness Revolution, communities with pools can help reduce childhood obesity, reduce criminal activity in youth, and combat depression and improve mental health. It helps teach life-saving skills for all ages and improves strength and mobility to those with physical challenges. It is a place where parents know their kids will be safe on a hot summer’s afternoon.

For those looking to learn more or even join in the fundraising efforts, you can contact one of the members of the Swimming Pool Capital Campaign committee: Molly Wiegel, Mary Jo Erickson, Tammy King, Laura Smith or Cindy Corley. They meet every Wednesday night at the Johnson Public Library. A donation button is available on the city website, and then click the ‘Swimming Pool Fundraiser’ at the top.