Madison met its July 1 deadline. The city officially dove into its public pool project, breaking ground on a day perfect for taking a dip. Mayor Dave Cieslewicz kicked off the ceremony by saying, "We are getting things done; we are moving forward in city of Madison."
Madison is moving forward with its first public pool several decades in the making.
"We have to remind ourselves that we started talking about this pool 60 years ago," Cieslewicz says.
But today talk turned into action as community leaders began digging into the ground of Franklin Field, re-named Goodman Park. "It feels great, especially to have kids here because this is what it's all about," Nino Amato of the pool committee says.
The groundbreaking comes after more than 1,000 people dug deep in their pockets, including Madison's Goodman Brothers. They donated nearly $3 million to the project but could not attend the ceremony due to health concerns. An excerpt of their statement reads, "During our many years as business owners and residents, we have benefited from, and been buoyed by innumerable kindnesses and generosities that have been shown us by so many people. We feel fortunate to be in a position to give back to the city that has given us so much."
The $5 million, 1,000 person capacity pool is expected to open mid-May of next year.
"You'll have an eight-lane, 25-meter lap pool, really is gonna be a great facility," Amato says.
But the fundraising effort continues after bids came in at about a million dollars more than expected. "We're gonna shoot to raise another $400,000 and I think we'll do that," Rick Phelps of the pool finance committee says.
Fundraisers also want to focus on scholarship money. Madison's parks superintendent says it will cost a mother of two children fewer than $10 to visit, but leaders want to ensure everyone gets the opportunity. "There's a huge amount of scholarship money, at $66,000, a lot of that will go for lifeguard training and swim lessons," Parks Supt. James Morgan says.
"This pool isn't worth anything if it's not available to everyone," Phelps says.
Community leaders also announced a scholarship in memory of Shelley Glover of Madison. Glover was a member of the U.S. Ski Team but also an avid swimmer.