It’s a hot and humid day, perfect weather to go to the pool. But the Newburgh Community Pool is empty.
"We miss it terribly. It broke all of our hearts to close the pool, " said Mary Ann Wilsbacher, president of Newburgh Parks Board.
The town council and parks board decided to close the pool in January because of increased maintenance costs. The pool was reaching the end of its lifespan and town officials hoped to keep it open a few more years, but sub-zero temperatures caused a pipe to burst and damaged the pool. A consulant told them reopening it was not worth the cost.
The decision saddened many town residents. "People, after we closed it," Wilsbacher said, "kept writing and saying ‘I grew up there. You can’t close that pool.'"
Darren Bradley is one of those people. Bradley grew up in Newburgh and remembers riding his bike to the pool in Lou Dennis Community Park. He also took his two kids there, but now the family must travel out of town for a splash or dive.
“I have a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old too that we used to take over there as well. Now we have to drive all the way out to Burdette or somewhere else, maybe into Boonville so it’s kind of upsetting," he said. "Actually, my wife took the kids to Burdette today.”
The town hopes to build a new pool in the coming years. A steering committee of town and county residents and elected officials will soon visit other pools to develop plans.
But a new pool is expensive, and an architect who visited the site in May told Wilsbacher that they're becoming even more so.
"Pools for the last ten years have basically cost around three and a half million," Wilsbacher said, "but now since the economy is heating up, that cost has gone up to four million."
But Bradley plans to help with the cost. He manages the kitchen at Archie and Clyde’s in Newburgh. Archie and Clyde’s, along with several local establishments, approached a local historic preservation organization and offered to host a pub crawl to benefit the pool.
The bars have held a pub crawl in the past to benefit the town's parks, but this Sunday's event is the first in five years, and money from wristbands will specifically benefit the pool.
Bradley thinks the pub crawl will raise around 10 thousand dollars for the pool and hopes to have one every year until a new one is built.