Castle Rock Community Pool: it’s more than just a pool… it’s a symbol of a bygone era, a time when a neighborhood represented a safety net in which kids could grow up safely and enveloped in love. This is how the neighborhood surrounding the pool feels about their community… they are group of a close-knit families who lean on each other for support and friendship. When they heard that the pool may be sold to a developer and torn down to make room for condominiums, they sprang into action. In specific, a group of three women:
Karen Byerly, Andrea Cobb, and Kim Wingate were the driving force behind keeping the pool in business. “It’s not just a swimming pool. It’s the symbol of a safe neighborhood for our kids. It’s nice to have neighbors that know your kids… you don’t really get that if you don’t have a way to get together. This is a great way for people to know each other,” said Andrea. These women heard that the owner of the pool was planning on closing the establishment and moving to Atlanta.
The women could not let this happen: “My husband told me to just go to bed and forget about it. There’s nothing we can do about it. I told him just watch me,” said Andrea. After hearing about the closing, the women met to create, print and hand out “Save the Pool” flyers and take them around the neighborhood. They held a community meeting the Saturday after hearing about the closing.
The group had a good turnout; about 40 people came to the meeting. “For something that last minute, it was pretty good. We had so many people say how important the pool was to them. We asked them to sign a sheet, whatever their talents were… whatever they could do to help with this journey. Everything from pulling weeds to organizing events,” said Andrea. The group wanted to show support and solidarity: “that we mean business,” added Karen. The owner of the pool showed up to the meeting and saw how important it was to the community. “He saw that people really cared about the pool and wanted it to stay open,” said Kim.
After the meeting, the owner was convinced and the process started. The group of pool supporters decided to operate the pool as a non-profit organization. Once the previous owner and the group agreed to the transition from private to non-profit, they immediately started working on cleaning it. “The previous owner is being so great to this community. He owned the pool for 20 years and had a very vested interest in it, but doesn’t really have one anymore. However, he is still just as committed to helping us. He is guiding us through the pool opening and has been absolutely fantastic. Instead of taking a cash offer to tear it down and build condos, he was willing to work with us and keep it a community pool,” said Andrea. Not only did he not take a cash offer to tear down the pool, but the previous owner has come back from Atlanta every weekend to help the group open the pool. “Normal season opening is a lot of work. You have to make sure all the pumps are working, clean and sanitize the pool, and then fill it up again. It takes a long time,” said Andrea.
The previous owner isn’t the only one taking time out of his busy schedule to come help open the pool. People from around the neighborhood have given up their Saturdays to come and help too. “Everybody is coming together… the kids and adults are helping with the work.” said Andrea. “They’ve had two work days, where people are painting, cleaning, landscaping, donating things such as mulch, supplies, and first aid kits. It’s been wonderful to see the generosity, the camaraderie… everyone coming together for this cause.”
Not only is the neighborhood a close group, but the Castle Rock Swim Team is too. “They are some of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met,” said Kim, whose husband and oldest daughter are both on the team. She continued, “they encourage each member young and old. It’s not about winning the meet, it’s about personal growth.” The team is part of the Roanoke Valley Aquatic Association and is ranked in Division 3. The team consists of about 50 members and participates in meets all over the Roanoke Valley. This year, the team will be coached by Mark Adams, whose family has a long history with the community pool. Together, Mark and his brother Drew Adams will help to manage the pool.
In addition to being a close-knit group of people, the neighborhood surrounding the pool is also generous as well. According to Karen, the neighborhood has had two block parties, raising money for Wounded Warriors and another to raise money for a local family in need. “We’d like to ultimately open this pool as a community center,” said Andrea. Kim added, “we want it to be the best neighborhood it can be. We want to know each other. That’s what it’s all about. With this pool, everyone has taken a real interest in knowing their neighbors.”
The pool is planning to open on Memorial Day, which is May 27. And with its opening, the pool also hopes to encourage a partnership with local businesses around the Roanoke Valley. “One of the things we are doing in an effort to raise money, is to offer advertising to local businesses. We will have banners hanging around the main pool area that can advertise these local businesses. In this way, we hope to encourage these businesses to help out our cause and also encourage people coming to the pool, to patronize these places as well,” said Andrea.
The pool will be open on Memorial Day and will operate Monday through Saturday, 11 to 8pm and 1 to 8pm on Sunday. There will be modified hours during the school year. For any questions or applications email: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find pictures and see updates on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/231887966916731/
Source : http://www.roanoke.com/community/swoco/castle-rock-pool-more-than-just-a-pool/article_ee9988a8-4d45-514f-a609-9b1e211cbd25.html