Waldo Pool celebrates 40 years with a special fundraiser

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In 1977, a group of individuals had a vision of a community pool for the Village of Waldo. In 1978, they came up with a “Swim with Waldo” campaign, a theme that stuck with the pool.

Through years of fundraising, including chicken barbecues, community yard sales, pledges, “Swim with Waldo” t-shirt sales, and many volunteer hours, the community has been able to raise $76,950. This was supplemented by a grant funding the total project of $153,900.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 15, 1981, and the Waldo Pool officially opened for its first full season on May 29, 1982. Fundraising continued after the opening season, and the community was able paying the pool bill during the summer of 1987. The community came together and a time capsule, filled with memories, was buried on the pool grounds in celebration. It was a great achievement for a small village that was determined to give the community a place to gather and create lasting memories.

The Waldo Pool has been a beloved staple in this community for 40 years. A calm and relaxed setting to enjoy the summer with friends and family. Over the past 40 years, Waldo Pool has been operated by many community leaders who are committed to carrying on the legacy of previous generations. Thanks to the hard work, dedication and financial support of local businesses and citizens, Waldo Pool has proudly stood the test of time.

A perfect day at Waldo Pool in the summer of 2021. Funds continue to be raised for pool maintenance by the renewed Pool Board.

Over the past few years, Waldo Pool has faced adverse adversities that would cripple most community-run facilities. Thanks to the support of the village of Waldo, the administrators of the township of Waldo and the citizens of the community, the swimming pool persevered and opened its doors for its 40th season.

In 2021, a group of citizens determined to preserve the pool’s legacy formed the Waldo Swim and Recreation Pool Board. Members include Jennifer Babb, Kevin Emigh, Ashley Klingel, Natalie Longmeier, Doug Parks and Kelly Talley. Security and transparency are their main objectives. The board has worked hard over the past two years to improve the facility. Improvements include plumbing, toilets, pool bottom, painting and general operations. Last year they were delighted to receive a set of stairs from Waldo Township Trustees to make pool access easier for all guests.

Klingel, whose grandfather was instrumental in building and leading the pool council during its first 20 years, now leads the pool council.

“As with everything over time the pool has aged. It now faces several major repairs. As vital as fundraising and community support were 45 years ago, it remains just as important today,” Klingel said. “To keep the pool alive for future generations to enjoy, it makes sense to come together as a community to fund the necessary repairs. The pool board agrees to lead the charge to ensure that repairs are carried out if necessary.

The country theme originally proposed for the pool is still used today.  The pool board invites the Marion community to the pool on Saturday for once more "Swim with Waldo."

“This year we kicked off our fundraising activities,” Talley said. “Earlier this year, we held a successful iPad raffle. We have secured sponsorships from local businesses and are currently planning a vacation in Kissimmee, Florida. “Swim with Waldo” t-shirts are available and on June 18th we will be hosting a community-wide fundraising event to celebrate 40 years. Admission will be free to the public; donations are welcome. We will honor our founders by hosting a chicken BBQ using the exact recipes used 45 years ago, a shaded dining tent and memorabilia from the early years.

Half chicken dinners will be available for $15 along with other hot items. Water and land games will be offered to the whole family. Food will be served from noon to 3 p.m. and the pool will be open until 8 p.m. The council invites the Marion community to the Waldo pool on Saturday to “swim with Waldo.” A rain date for the event is June 25.

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