FULLERTON — In 2018, Fullerton residents spoke loudly in favor of a new swimming pool. Last week, they were finally able to get wet.
The new Fullerton Community Pool, equipped with a lazy river, two diving towers and a family slide, opened June 11. Following the ribbon-cutting, more than 300 people enjoyed the sparkling new facility.
Since then, about 180 people a day have enjoyed getting drenched by the sun and water.
The $4.5 million facility was built on the same site as Fullerton’s old pool, built in the 1950s.
In a special election in July of 2018, voters approved a $3.6 million bond issue. The voting margin had the impact of a belly flop — 348 to 71.
Many Fullerton residents felt that people in the 1950s rallied together to build a pool, and now they felt it was their turn, said City Administrator Jim Kramer.
This time around, fundraising efforts included bake sales, raffles and a banquet. Individual donations totaled $425,000. Grants totaled $500,000. The city provided the rest.
Pool manager Shelly Wiseman calls the pool a “fantastic facility.”
Assistant manager Michelle Sonderup points out that Fullerton hasn’t had a swimming pool for two years. The old pool closed in 2018. So the excitement within the community and its young people “has been tremendous,” she said.
Hiring lifeguards might be a problem nationally, but not in Fullerton. The pool has 23 employees, including 19 lifeguards. Wiseman described them as a “great group of lifeguards.”
She also praised the other staff members and city employees, who put a lot of work into the project.
The entire community chipped in and made the pool a success, Sonderup said.
A donation from First Bank & Trust of Fullerton keeps admission fees very reasonable this summer. The names of donors are listed on signs attached to the fence.
Parents of young children appreciate the pool’s zero depth entrance.
Swimmers hold on to transparent floating tubes as they meander along the lazy river.
The diving towers are 1 and 3 meters high. The old pool had two low diving boards.
The new pool is more than 12 feet deep, with five lanes 25 yards long. The old pool had a depth of 9 feet.
The members of the pool committee are Rachel Bittner, Jennifer Wood, Shawn Ostransky, Will Zoucha, Paul Bialas, Angie Herman and Derek Smith.
The new pool was “a long time coming,” said Bialas, who built a mini-picnic table for kids using wood from the old pool house.
Bialas, 68, won’t be using the pool but he has grandchildren who will. The pool and the Pawnee Hills Golf Club are good reasons for people to live in Fullerton and to visit, Bialas said. The golf course, located north of town, is less than 30 years old.
Fullerton Community Pool was initially supposed to open on Memorial Day weekend. But when the pool was filled, a leak was found.
But now, there are no problems. “Everything is fixed and fabulous,” Wiseman said.
The architectural and engineering work was done by Burbach Aquatics of Platteville, Wis.
Grants came from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Civic and Community Center Financing Fund and Nebraska Game and Parks’ Land and Water Conservation Fund. Another came from an Omaha organization that wishes to remain anonymous.
Operating hours are 1 to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. The season will end the second week of August.