The Rotary Club of Lockport will spearhead a major fund drive to oversee renovation of Community Pool.

The club will seeks grants and gifts to raise $150,000 for renovation, Rotary long range planning committee chairmen W. Michael Alexander and Linda Van Buskirk said Friday.

“The Community Pool has been around for approximately 40 years — and could be around for another 40 if we repair the pool now,” Alexander said.

Along with facility repairs the club wants to raise money for improvements including a water slide and a mushroom sprinkler in the long-closed kiddie pool.

An enhanced public facility would attract more users and “help make Lockport a more hospitable, attractive place where people want to live,” Van Buskirk said.

By unanimous vote this week, club members selected the pool near Outwater Park as its “signature project” to mark the 100th year since Rotary’s formation. They wanted something that would benefit the community as a whole — and that they could put their club’s name on.

“The Rotary (skating) rink in Buffalo is famous ... and it’s wonderful,” Alexander said. “I think the Lockport club can do the same thing.”

While specific details remain to be worked out, Mayor Michael Tucker said the city welcomes the Rotary effort with open arms.

“It’s wonderful we have organizations like that in this city. I’m thankful they want to participate in making things better for youths,” he said.

The club’s intention is to conduct the campaign in a relatively brief period, beginning in March and ending sometime this year. Pointing to the success of the Save the Historic Palace Theater campaign a few years ago, Alexander said the window seems realistic.

“Work expands to fill the available time, it really does. We don’t want to prolong it.”

The Lockport club will seek help from other area Rotary clubs, just as others have sought and won support from the Lockport group on projects ranging from Akron Park improvements to purchase of an ambulance for a hospital in India.

“One of the things the groups do for each other is support each other’s projects,” Van Buskirk said. “We’re also hoping the community sees value in this project and will respond by helping us financially.”

According to Alexander, the Rotary planning committee researched the pool facility project extensively before committing. City officials and pool experts were contacted to determine what work needs doing and how much it would cost.

The city has moved to clean up and improve its parks in recent years, helping assure members the project represents a wise investment, Alexander said.

“We’re seeing a renaissance in parks and recreation. We hope to be a part of it,” he said.

The club offered to manage the project and hopes to see work done by the time the pool opens in June. Those are among the details that have to be worked out, Tucker said. Since the pool is city-held, some work may be subject to competitive bidding requirements and labor issues will have to be accounted for.

For more information about the Rotary campaign, call Alexander at 478-0240. Correspondence and early pledges can be sent to the Rotary Club of Lockport, P.O. Box 1199, Lockport, NY 14095.

Contact Joyce Miles at 439-9222, Ext. 6245.

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