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Manners Park celebrated the opening of their public pool for another season during Memorial Day weekend, to much rejoicing from families throughout the neighborhood. Along with all of their usual summer activities, the park has several new projects in the works, including a new pool and splash pad as well as a dog park.
The current pool has been serving Taylorville for over 60 years now. It opened in June of 1962 with the most recent renovation in 2002. In April, voters passed a referendum for bond funding of $6,500,000 to build a new pool. Though that amount covers a substantial portion of the renovations, the park district still has to fundraise and apply for grants before construction can begin.
“For the pool, I know there was some confusion, but we are open!” Director of Recreation Bailey Hancock assured. “While the referendum is wonderful and I cannot be more thankful to the people that went out and voted ‘yes,’ we’ve still got some fundraising to do, as well as a grant that we are applying to in August.”
The grant goes up to $600,000, but the park cannot apply for it if they have started construction, so the goal is to push the current pool through this season and next season and then begin construction in August of 2024, opening with a brand new pool and splash pad in June of 2025.
“There is still a lot of work going on with the pool,” Bailey said. “It has not stopped. We will do everything we can to keep the pool running until we’re financially able to replace it. Hopefully we can get two more seasons out of it so we can secure this grant and the rest of the funding and begin construction.”
Fundraising has already started for the pool. At the end of the school year, local elementary schools raised almost $2,000 by collecting “Pennies for the Pool,” earning the leading classes a free pool party.
“I want the kids to feel like they are a part of this,” Bailey said. “This pool is for them.”
The park district is also selling “Petunias for the Pool” at $20 per pot. Other fundraising ideas in the works include donor bricks and some activities at the pool throughout the summer.
“We’re working on a lot more fundraisers,” Bailey said. “It’s just slow going right now to get volunteers.”
If somebody wants to volunteer or has fundraising ideas, Bailey urges them to reach out. She also encourages everyone to follow their Facebook pages, Taylorville Park District and Save Manners Park Pool, and keep an eye on their website, taylorvilleparkdistrict.com, for updates and news.
The fundraising and planning has not slowed down any of the usual summer pool activities. The pool is open from 1:00-5:00 p.m. on weekdays and 1:00-6:00 p.m. on weekends for open swim. The pool also has many opportunities for swim lessons, water aerobics, zumba classes, junior lifeguard training, pool parties and more.
“Pool parties have been filling up rapidly,” Bailey explained, “so if anybody wants a pool party, they need to call me ASAP.”
The park’s summer camp also started up this past week, and it is full with nearly 50 campers.
“They are very excited about the summer,” Bailey laughed. “I will keep them busy and wear them out.”
The park also offers a senior lunch program every second Thursday of the month. They have a potluck-style meal in the Dining Hall at Manners Park where the park provides the main dish and all attending seniors are invited to bring a side or dessert. They finish it off with Bingo. For more information or to RSVP, interested parties can call the office at 217-824-5878.
Another exciting addition to Manners Park is the Dr. Thomas Brewer Memorial Dog Park. The park district broke ground for construction on May 10. The parking lot has been poured, and a company has been hired to do the fencing. Other smaller items, like seating, are still in the works.
“We’re still a couple months out from any of that being done,” Bailey said, “but we are on the list to get all of that. Again, follow the Facebook page, and we’ll have updates as our board meetings and things come in.”
The entire dog park is being donated in memory of Dr. Brewer, who was a big animal lover. Though much of the contents are sill dependent on pricing, there will be a separate area for big dogs and small dogs, a double gate to prevent dogs from running out, benches, and water fountains. There will also be some sort of registration to show that dogs have vaccinations. There may be a small registration fee to maintain the dog park, but that is also still up in the air.
“It will be beautiful once it’s done,” Bailey said.