The volunteer community group, Friends of the Pool, is seeking funding to install an aquatic climbing wall for the indoor pool at the Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center.
Created by a company called "AquaClimb," the climbing feature is mounted on the deck on the deep end of the pool, anchoring a water-leaning climbing face that rises 16 feet over the water. The wall is made up of adjustable, rotating panels to accommodate beginning to more advanced climbing challenges.
"I called a direcor in Utah to ask about their climbing wall at their pool and he said the kids just love it," said John Renner, a founding member of the swimming group. "Another nice quality is that it doesn't require any ropes or harnesses, so kids can freely climb up and down or jump into the water from any point on the wall." The group formed a few years ago to help raise money to keep the city's only public swimming facility open. Now they hope to secure the $15,000 required to purchase the unique poolside equipment with contributions from local businesses.
The idea for the wall came from a swimming magazine, according to Steve Gromack, the pool director.
"We noticed a lot of the kids populate the shallow end of the pool, but the deep end was neglected," Renner said. "This wall is a neat way to get people to enjoy the pool and exercise in a new way."
Renner said his group hopes the wall will spur greater
But relying on local businesses for support this time around proved to be difficult, Renner said.
"As we have gone around, we've learned how badly local businesses have been hit hard by the construction work along Highway 64," he said.
So Friends of the Pool wants to convert an outdoor sand area at the pool into a picnic spot they can rent for parties to help raise money for the wall, which the group hopes to have installed by fall. Renner said Jaynes Corporation, a local construction company that built the center's pools, has already committed to providing free labor for the project.
"We need to lay concrete for the picnic area, which will cost around $7,000," Renner said. "People who make contributions toward the pool of $500 or less will be included on a donor's list plaque that will be up on the wall at the center. Any contribution over $500 will be honored with banners."
During Bloomfield Days in May, Renner said the group will also be holding a membership drive to help raise money.
If funding is secured, Bloomfield will enjoy the distinction of being the first pool in the state to have an AquaClimb wall.
"Anything that gets kids away from video games and into activities like swimming, the better," Renner said. "The neat part about swimming is that it can be in a group or on your own, as long as you're getting wet."
For more information on the Friends of the Pool, contact Gromack at 505-632-0313 or John Renner at 505-632-1711.
James Fenton can be reached at email@example.com; 564-4621. Follow him on Twitter @fentondt