The Herald Bulletin
---- — Whether you’re able to yearn for the days of swimming in the historic pool at Athletic Park or not, most residents sense nostalgia when driving by the unique structure on East Eighth Street near White River.
Built in 1925, the above-ground, egg-shaped pool is one of the few constructed across the U.S. designed by Wesley Bintz. Closing after the 2007 season, the pool’s indoor plumbing was stripped of copper by vandals. Repairs have been estimated — though not confirmed — at $150,000.
In 2013, the pool was named one of the most endangered Hoosier landmarks by the Indiana Landmarks preservation organization. The pool is again on the list for 2014.
There have been local efforts to raise funds to help restore the site but they have been piecemeal.
Those efforts are afloat again with the recent announcement that the Jeffris Family Foundation of Wisconsin will give a $14,000 grant to study how to restore the site. Also, the Efroymson Family Fund of Indianapolis will give $10,000 and the Anderson Parks Department will contribute $5,000.
The Jeffris Family Foundation — founded by the former board chairman of the Parker Pen Co. — helps Midwestern historic preservation projects. The Efromyson Family Fund has awarded more than $70 million grants in central Indiana and elsewhere.
This is great news, not only for those who would like to relive swimming in the pool but for those of us who see tourist and economic potential in the park along White River.
Granted, some folks don’t care to walk or jog by jail inmates or in a dimly-lit part of town, but the restoration of the pool could be the starting point for improvements that would be inviting for residents and visitors alike.
Currently, the area is home to Anderson’s City Market on Saturdays. This weekend, the park will host the Pro Am Archery Tour. The park also hosts September’s Andersontown Powwow and Indian Market.
There is promise in this 26-acre spot that is ideally centrally located. But there might well be a need to have an iconic site serve as the focal point for the park’s future. A pool with the rich history of the past may serve to draw people to the river.
A study of the pool’s current problems and future potential should give insight into the park’s future.
The restoration of Athletic Park Pool could be the starting point for bigger and better things for the area. Breathing life into this piece of community history is the right thing to do.
More coverage To read recent Herald Bulletin news articles about efforts to restore the pool at Athletic Park, visit heraldbulletin.com and search for "Athletic Park."