Gibson City Group Raising Money For New Community Pool
By Jeff Bossert
A local businessman in Gibson City hopes to keep the community’s nearly 100-year-old community pool going through his own fundraising effort rather than asking taxpayers for money.
Carey Davis said there has been a pool of some sort at the same site since the 1920’s, but now there are repair issues that could cause it to shut down the next few years.
“After the winter’s over, and we go to open it up in the spring, we just hope that we don’t have another major failure, and it’s questionable every year when we do start up whether it’s going to fire up or not," he said. "And there’s issues with handicapped accessibility as well. And all those combined are costly repairs.”
Davis and a committee launched a campaign last fall – one that is already netted more than $200,000.
He wants to raise $1 million, and pursue the other $3 million necessary through a state grant, but there is not a target date for raising the funds.
Davis said that depends largely on the state, and when Illinois’ Department of Natural Resources will allow his group to seek the additional money.
“They take applications for six weeks to two months, and then they decide where the money’s being disbursed," Davis explained. "And right now we’re not in a grant period. So we’re sitting on go here, waiting for the state to come with a grant period, but we feel like we have very good chance of getting the grant, if we’re doing this grassroots level fundraising on our end.”
The campaign had a boost before it even started - an estate gift from Wally and Virginia Lamb provided $50,000 dollars towards a new pool in 1991.
But Davis, part owner of a John Deere dealership, said a fundraising website launched a week ago has already brought lots of donations – including two from out of state, coming from Indiana and Pennsylvania.
A similar fundraising effort in the community a year ago saved Gibson City's Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Movie Theatre.
"There are a lot of people have great memories of the pool from when they were a kid, both young and old," said Davis, who said a Facebook page to boost the fundraising effort would be starting up soon as well.