Harrisburg Aquatics Foundation: A Community Effort to Build a Swimming Pool
HARRISBURG, SD (KELO) – The community of Harrisburg has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade, with several large housing developments currently under construction. Now, several members of the community are coming together to help develop some of the amenities available in town, such as a summer staple that is still lacking in Harrisburg.
Even when the temperature rises, Krystal and Liam Abrahamson love to go out.
“We come to the park because it’s close to our home and it comes out of the house,” Krystal said.
But after 12 summers of raising kids in Harrisburg, Krystal is one of the many local parents who would like another option for a local outing.
“On a hot day like this it would be amazing to go to the pool,” Krystal said.
Bridget Bennett: Can you do that in town here?
“No, we should go to Tea or Wild Water West,” said Conner Weber, a 14-year-old Harrisburg resident.
Harrisburg families have always had to find swimming options outside of town.
“We go to Sioux Falls to go to the parks and stuff, but it would be so good to stay local and have our own pools to go to, our own parks to go to,” said Erin Weber, Harrisburg mom.
It’s a dream that city leaders have shared for many years.
“A swimming pool has definitely been part of the city’s plan for a long time. Years ago they started fundraising for this and failed, ”Harrisburg Mayor Derick Wenck said.
But that previous effort raised enough money for the city to purchase land for a future swimming pool, at the site of Harrisburg’s master plan for Central Park.
“Where we are doesn’t look like much right now, but it’s definitely developing,” said Taylor Berg, Harrisburg Park board member.
From new baseball parks to an all-inclusive playground, concert area, toboggan run and swimming pool, the city has a grand vision to add new recreational options for families to Harrisburg.
“I have lived here for 15 years; the whole town seems to be nothing but young kids running around, every street you walk down at night it’s a young kid going here, going over there, riding a bike up and down ” , Wenck said.
Wenck says these children are the main motivation for building a local option.
“Not only does it give the kids things to do, but it also creates jobs for the kids who live here in Harrisburg, you know, to be lifeguards, to work in the concession stands,” Wenck said.
“Then we wouldn’t have to do the whole car trip, my brothers and I could cycle here instead and we could invite our friends,” Conner Weber said.
A place where the people of Harrisburg …
“Can we all come together as a community,” said Erin Weber.
That’s exactly what a group is doing now, founding the Harrisburg Aquatics Foundation, a community effort to make a Harrisburg swimming pool a reality.
“We started in February, we had our first meeting in March,” said Jenna Ayotte of the Harrisburg Aquatics Foundation. “We have received a lot of positive feedback, people are delighted that someone is really focusing on the fact that a swimming pool is something we are talking about. “
Jenna Ayotte is one of the many Harrisburg parents who volunteered for the foundation.
“We are really focused on fundraising, it’s our biggest goal is fundraising, but with that we really need to know what the community wants, our goal is to understand what the community wants. Harrisburg wants for a pool, are we looking for a wading pool, an indoor facility, an outdoor facility and then fundraising to make it happen, ”Ayotte said.
The group is currently in the planning phase and is collecting feedback from the community so that they can develop a plan with the city.
“The city needs to know what the community wants,” Ayotte said.
“It takes more than municipal staff to make this pool a reality, it takes the whole community. We will eventually need to have community support if we ever want to post a bond, ”said Mayor Wenck.
While it’s too early to know exactly how much it will cost, this community foundation is committed to making its summer dream come true.
“We’re just in the early stages, we just know what our goal is,” said Ayotte.
“Everything costs money, but we are not afraid of it, we know that everything is going to cost money, and we are willing to go all the way to get the community what it wants, a swimming pool, ”Ayotte said.
“This is a team brought together here in Harrisburg and when things need to be done the Harrisburg community is definitely trying to make it happen,” said Berg.
Everything to help children in the community like Liam find another reason to smile.
“If we had a pool in Harrisburg, we would go there all day,” said Liam Abrahamson.
Community members are encouraged to share their feedback, get involved with the Harrisburg Aquatics Foundation, or donate to the effort to bring a swimming pool to Harrisburg. You can send a donation to @ Harrisburg-Aquaticsfoundation or a donation can also be sent to the Harrisburg Aquatics Foundation, PO box 304 Harrisburg, SD 57032.
If you have any questions or would like to contact the foundation, you can email them to [email protected]