After five years of fundraising the Westmoreland Summer Activities Association has earned close to $80,000. Now, thanks to an additional $60,000 grant secured by New York State Senator Joe Griffo, the group’s president Scott Tarkowski says the Westmoreland Town Pool will be reopened this summer.
“Support and momentum for our town pool has really built,” said Tarkowski, “the people of this town are as eager as we are to reopen the pool.”
The pool’s website westmopool.com already has job listings for life guards, and a pool director. They can be contacted on social media at Facebook.com/Westmopool.
“I was pleased to have been able to secure funding to help with capital improvements to the Anna Newman Kunz Memorial Pool,” Griffo said. “I am hopeful that residents will take advantage of this community asset once it is open.”
“Anna Kunz always said, ‘Every child should learn to swim’,” Theresa McFadden, who is Kunz’ niece recalled. “She worked at that pool everyday into her 90’s to keep it going.’
In the early 1960s, Kunz and her husband Walter donated land for the pool then organized the community to raise the funds to build it. After she died at age 99, the pool floundered and eventually closed in 2012.
“We’re glad Scott came forward and wanted to take it on. I knew he was the real deal so I contacted Joe Griffo.” says Ken Eisnor, Westmoreland Town Supervisor. “It’s going to be a really good thing for the community.”
“None of this would have ever happened without Scott and Patti Tarkowski,” Nadine Zeller adds. “Things like our town pool and town park bring us together as a community.”
Zeller is one of the key organizers of this year’s “Spring Fling,” which will be held on Saturday, June 8 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Westmoreland Town Park, located at 5025 Stop 7 Road. The event will feature a chicken BBQ, a craft and vendor fair, local musicians, and prize raffles, and will kick off with a performance by the Pride of Westmoreland Marching Band.
“This year is going to be bigger and better than ever,” Zeller promises.
“It’s exciting to see us get closer and closer to the goal of reopening the pool each year,” Patti Tarkowski the organization’s co-founder observed, “Our son Cody had such great experiences at the town pool. He learned to swim there and enjoyed summer fun with his friends. That is really what inspired Scott and I to start this group and work to reopen the pool.”
“I have amazing memories of learning to swim there as a little girl and bringing my children there as a parent,” said Margaret Leone who also worked for the pool as a life guard. “It is truly wonderful that it will be re-opening soon.”
At this year’s fundraising event the group plans to have membership information available. The pool will reopen later in June with a kickoff event that is still in the planning stages.
“Everyone has been incredibly generous,” Scott Tarkowski said. “They’ve shared our determination to have our pool available to the children of Westmoreland. It is a legacy that’s been passed down from generation to generation starting with Anna Kunz.”
“My aunt was so dedicated to that pool,” Theresa McFadden recalled. “The day the pool reopens is going to be a really great day for Westmoreland.”
Ron Klopfanstein is a member of the board of directors of the Westmoreland Summer Activities Association. Like him at Facebook.com/BeMoreWestmo and follow him at Twitter.com/BeMoreWestmo