For the first time in nearly a decade, the water filling the Maxwell Pool was rippling on Saturday, it’s surface disturbed by the activities of more than 100 very excited local kids.
From cannon balls off of the diving board to swimming laps to just splashing around to escape the 100 degree heat, Maxwell residents young and old were happy to see the community pool back in action.
Longtime Maxwell resident Ollie Reckers recalled when the pool first opened in 1950, just a couple months after she arrived in Maxwell. At that time, the community rallied together to raise funds to start the pool. Landowners offered pheasant hunts on private land for a fundraiser, and members of the community chipped in with labor, Reckers said.
After more than 50 years of operation, however, the pool was forced to close and the fruit of the community’s labor and generosity was nearly lost.
“When they let this pool just deteriorate, it was very upsetting,” she added. “There is nothing for these little kids to do here in the summer time, It’s absolutely wonderful to see these kids (using it), and I hope that they continue to use it, because if they don’t, all this work will have been for nothing.”
While admission to the pool on Saturday was free, the number of visitors and the community’s overall response bodes well for the future of the pool, Maxwell Park and Recreations District President Randy Wilkins said.
“We probably had around 50 people in the pool the whole time,” Dale Johnson said. Johnson, along with Leighann Morris and Samantha Wilkins, were among the volunteers working at the grand re-opening celebration.
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Maxwell Park and Recreations District board member Kyle Miller said that the attendance at the pool’s grand re-opening was about what the board was expecting. Wilkins said last week that the board was expecting the pool to be filled to its capacity for the ceremony, and they weren’t disappointed.
“Everyone is happy it’s open, and they were excited to be here,” Miller said.
Maxwell Unified school board member Kelly Haywood and Maxwell High School music teacher Vicki Wilson both said that they were happy to see the facility next to campus open to the public again, and that the community’s response was promising.
“It’s inspiring to see so many kids out here from the community,” Wilson said.
Audree Wells and Sydnee Wilson — both 11 — were among the local youth at the pool on Saturday. While Wells couldn’t remember the pool before it closed eight years ago, Wilson said that she could.
“It was one of the saddest things,” Wilson said.
Both of the girls were excited at what the pool could offer to them and the community moving forward.
“I think it’s really cool, because a lot of people live in town and they didn’t have a pool,” Wells said. “This is a chance for them to learn how to swim.”
Wilson said that she saw the pool as a place for the whole family to gather.
“I think it’s great, because the whole family could come,” Wilson said. “There is the kids pool for the little kids, the deep end with a diving board for the older kids
Haywood said that it was great that the pool was available to the community’s children in time for summer, and credited the Maxwell Parks and Recreation district for a job well done.
Reckers also credited the Maxwell Parks and Recreation District and a few select community members for getting the pool reopened.
“There are about five or six people who really made this project happen,” Reckers said. “This board is wonderful — they just get things done”
Following the re-opening of the pool, Maxwell Parks and Recreation hosted their first free movie night of the summer, which was also a resounding success. Between 70 to 80 kids crowded around a screen on Saturday night at the Maxwell Little League field to watch “Zootopia.”
“I did not expect that many people to come to movie night,” Miller said.
The next free movie night is scheduled for July 9 at 9 PM. Parks and Recreation will be showing Big Hero 6, and will be offering an expanded snack bar selection at that date.