Pennies for Pool fund starts with $6,000
“People say, ‘Well, what’s the value of a penny?’ One by itself is probably not worth a whole lot. But a whole bunch of pennies can amount to a big difference,” said District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman.
Chapman made the motion, which passed unanimously, to adopt the resolution establishing the Pennies for the Pool Trust Fund and authorizing county staff to accept donations for a greater Susanville area swimming pool.
“It all starts with an idea and these kids have a great idea,” he said.
The idea of challenging Susanville students to collect pennies actually started with Meadow View Elementary School teacher Becka Holmes, according to Diamond View Middle School seventh-grade language-arts teacher and student council advisor Paula Panfilio.
At Diamond View, Panfilio said, she turned the community service project over to the 25 student council officers and leadership group members. They set up the project and collected the pennies at Diamond View.
Panfilio introduced the officers President JP Speiker, Vice President Preston Stephens, Secretary Abi Laine, Treasurer Melanie McClellan and Activity Director Kym Antonucci, all eighth graders.
“A new pool will give the community something to do, can host extracurricular activities and can be a safe haven,” Laine said. “We believe that having a pool will give the community a chance to get out and enjoy themselves.”
“A swimming pool would be an excellent place to host school field trips, good citizenship and award parties, swimming lessons and bring back the local swim team,” Stephens said.
“Another reason we think that Susanville needs a pool is because it creates a safe and convenient environment without some of the hazards of going to the rivers and lakes in the area,” Antonucci.
“At Diamond View we handed out baggies for the kids to take home and collect loose change,” Speiker said, adding teacher Franz Latka matched, penny for penny, the donations collected by his students. “So that’s how we got a lot of the money.”
Some of the student council members took the coins to Safeway and used the change for cash service to present bills to the board. McClellan thanked Safeway for waiving the 8 percent fee for changing coins to cash.
She said Meadow View students collected $415, McKinley raised $290 and Diamond View raised 305.11. McClellan presented a jar containing $1,010.11 to County Treasurer Richard Egan.
Chapman then announced he and District 4 Supervisor Brian Dahle wanted to donate money from the 2007 discretionary funds originally contributed to the fund for a barrier wall on Main Street in Uptown Susanville. Since Caltrans is now building the wall, Chapman said he would contribute $585.40 to the Pennies for the Pool fund and Dahle said he would add 542.70.
District 3 Supervisor Lloyd Keefer then said he would allocate $600; District 1 Supervisor Bob Pyle said he would give $500.
Saying, “I’m not going to be outdone by Supervisor Keefer,” District 5 Supervisor Jack Hanson said he would contribute $600.
“I’ll raise mine to $700,” Pyle said, drawing laughter from the crowd at the board meeting.
“Why don’t we make it easy and make it $1,000 each?” asked County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen and all five board members agreed.
Chapman challenged businesses and individuals to make donations. Greg Knight and Violet Stout each contributed $20 on the spot.
The fund will make it possible for “school children, community service organizations, non-profit organizations, local businesses and various private citizens … to raise money and contribute funds that will make possible the reestablishment of a community swimming pool facility in the greater Susanville area,” the resolution said.
Susanville's Roosevelt Pool closed in December 2004 due to structural safety issues. Chapman said the community may raise an amount similar to the $90,000 donated to replace the Junior Livestock Judging Pavilion at the county fairgrounds.
Collecting a large amount will help whoever finally builds a pool to make it "a facility we can be proud of," Chapman said.
The board passed a resolution in November supporting the Lassen High School District’s effort to build a pool costing an estimated $9.8 million on the old softball field on the southeast side of the Credence High School campus near the intersection of Gay and Cottage streets.
LHS officials are still negotiating with other agencies to join in funding the effort to build and maintain the pool.
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