The Patagonia Pool will be able to reopen this summer thanks to donations from the Stark Community Foundation and from Patagonia benefactor John Kendall. The plight of the pool was brought to the attention of these donors by the cover story in the Feb 2019 issue of the PRT.
The Stark Community Foundation of Canton, OH, which donated $50,000, became involved with the pool due to input from Henry and Louise Timken, benefactors of the foundation who have ties to the Patagonia area. The Timken family is a former owner of the Vaca Ranch in the San Rafael Valley.
John Kendall, who donated $10,000, is a grandson of John Cady, a prominent early resident of the town. He has been a generous donor to many causes in Patagonia, including the new addition to the library, the Benderly-Kendall Opera House and the building that houses the Patagonia Youth Center.
The Stark Foundation grant is being used to replace the 30-year-old filtration system, improve lighting and to purchase a portable chair lift. The Kendall donation will be used to install a new pump and for other repairs. Leslie Pools, from Tucson, will be doing the work.
The pool could reopen as early as Memorial Day. “We are going to get it up and running, so that is the main thing,” Angelica Lucero, maintenance manager at the Patagonia Schools, said. “I’m very grateful. I’m glad we’re going to get it running for the summer. I’m very excited about the lights, which would enable evening activities.”
“This coming summer we are completely funded. We have enough money for personnel,” Patagonia School Superintendent Rachell Hochheim said. “Moving forward, any unforeseen maintenance or operations expenses, we have no money.”
Under the current intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the town of Patagonia, the town contributes $10,000 annually to the pool, leaving the school district to absorb the balance of the $50,000 budget. “The community needs to realize that this can’t keep falling on the back of the schools, Registrar Liz Collier said. “This is money coming out of the classroom.”
“The plan is to meet with the town and have a new IGA,”Hochheim said. “The last conversation with the town was very positive.” The existing IGA includes a provision for a pool committee, which
Hochheim would like to see take a more active role. She would like the committee to consider hiring a pool manager, and to incorporate longer operating hours and extend the season.
Donations are needed to fund improvements, including a heater, a solar cover, better fencing and shade. For more information, to become involved or to donate, call Lucero at 394-3053.