At one time in the not so distant past, the construction of a new community swimming pool was called the highest priority among the people of Lassen County. That may be an exaggeration, but local children let their desires be known and launched the Pennies For The Pool effort and after several years of fundraising, former Lassen County Supervisor Jim Chapman and former Susanville Mayor Brian Wilson put their heads together and hatched a plan to get it done by forming a joint powers authority known as the Honey Lake Valley Recreation Authority to be funded through 15 annual contributions of $200,000 from both the county and the city.
When the new JPA discovered it had no credit rating and would be unable to borrow the money to build the pool at a reasonable interest rate, the county and the city each came up with $1.2 million to fund the construction, lowering their yearly contributions from $200,000 to $80,000 — that money to be used to fund the operational costs of the pool. To the joy of many in the community, the pool officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Tuesday, June 27.
Jared Hancock, the authority’s executive officer, welcomed and honored the current board members — Brian Wilson, Kathie Garnier, David Teeter, Tom Hammond and Dave Meserve — and past board members, Jim Chapman, Nick McBride and Larry Wosick.
Hancock also praised Lassen County, the city of Susanville, the Susanville School District, Susanville Supermarket IGA, the Marine Corps League, Modern Building, Inc., Bill Feierabend and John and Eileen Spencer. These entities and contributors were honored with plaques during the brief ceremony.
After a ribbon-cutting, the best part of the event occurred — an opportunity to jump in the pool. Many folks, especially a number of youngsters, came prepared for the plunge in bathing suits. Others took advantage of a rare opportunity to swim in the pool in their street clothes.
The happy sounds of little ones who have never had an opportunity to swim in a local pool since Roosevelt Pool closed more than a decade ago rang out loud and clear over the pool deck — a sure sign that this project has finally been completed.
The Honey Lake Valley Community Pool will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The pool offers a variety of programs including private and group swimming lessons for all ages and abilities; a masters swim program for adults; shallow water aerobics; water walking; cross training; deep water aerobics; SKWIM; water yoga and pool rentals.
It’s been said watching the wheels of government turn is a lot like watching sausage being made. Certainly the new pool went through many changes as the project moved through the planning stages to its final construction. We ended up with a facility that is much different than what some authority members originally envisioned.
Now is not the time to dwell upon those differences. Now is the time to celebrate the opening of the new pool. To all those who played a part — thank you and well done.