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Celebrating summer at reopened pool

Free swim day on Sunday, Aug. 14
By: Chelsea Foster, Colfax Record Correspondent
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Meadow Vista’s pool facility has been an oasis of calm for local families since the completion of its renovations this year. Placer Hills Pool was scheduled to be closed completely in 2006, but community supporters rallied to save the pool and begin renovations. With help from community volunteers, the Auburn Recreation District and local service organizations, the project was completed just in time for summer use. Renovations for the pool took about five years to complete, from construction and plumbing to painting and landscaping. The pool was completely restructured, with new plumbing, new structures built, new bathroom facilities, showers, a chilled water fountain, and more. It has been a long process, but the beautiful results were worth the wait, according Meadow Vista resident Michelle Myrenne Willoughby, volunteer coordinator of the project. Myrenne Willoughby, who oversaw the renovations from beginning to end, said that the new pool has been a blessing for Meadow Vista’s families. “The pool has been very well used. The water aerobics classes have been well attended in the mornings, and I know there have been lots of families and children enjoying it as well. It’s such a beautiful space and facility now,” she said. Sheryl Petersen, ARD recreation services manager, said that the response to the renovation has been very positive. “We have seen swimming lessons fill up. People are using the pool in the afternoons for recreational swimming, and the aqua aerobics program is growing. People have also been renting out the facilities frequently for parties,” Petersen said. June Steckler, of Meadow Vista, said that the pool has been a huge gift for her family, especially her two active sons. “Three dollars a pop is a small price to pay for a great little pool that my kids are safe in. It only goes to five feet and there is always at least one lifeguard on duty. It has nice bathrooms close to the pool – with cute tile work, no less – and is about two minutes from my house,” Steckler said. “Compared to the 30K it would cost to put in our own pool, the Meadow Vista pool is great. We love it, and I'm thrilled that it's been renovated and is now available.” Andrew Nieto, who has worked for ARD for the past three years, spends summers as a lifeguard at the Sierra pool in Auburn, occasionally substituting at the Meadow Vista pool. Nieto said that the smaller, more rural pool has a peaceful, quiet setting. “It’s pretty calm and quiet over here,” Nieto said. Compared to Auburn’s more busy pool facilities, the atmosphere at the Meadow Vista pool is more relaxed. Families splash and sun in the recreational pool during the day, and picnics abound in the shady park nearby. Aubree Cook, an ARD lifeguard who grew up in Meadow Vista and lives in Lincoln, said she has been going to the pool since she was a young child. She agreed that the close-knit community and family atmosphere at Placer Hills pool is something special. “I love it because the families come regularly. I get to know the kids that come. It’s fun to watch the kids grow up, and it’s really cool to really get to know the families,” Cook said. With Placer Hills pool’s long history as a community gathering place, it is gratifying to see that tradition continue now with the new facility, Myrenne Willoughby said. “The pool has definitely been such a part of the community since it was built in 1955,” she said. “It was that that kept me going to see the completion even when it looked like it simply would not proceed.” According to Myrenne Willoughby, the completion of the pool is also a testimony to the helpful spirit of the community. “Everyone who volunteered, came to our fundraisers, provided services and goods and materials, provided support in so many ways for this project never wavered,” Myrenne Willoughby said. “It did take nearly five years, but it was entirely worth it, and I'm so thrilled for the entire community that we all saw it through. “This is truly a community-based success story. Every piece of new equipment, all the supplies and labor were donated. Everyone really kept up their dedication to the cause. People knew what they would miss if the pool were closed.” Petersen agreed that without the outpouring of support, this project would not have been possible. “It was a real team effort between the district and the community. It just shows what you can do when you work together,” Petersen said. “We’re looking forward to next summer being even bigger and better.” Myrenne Willoughby said that even more changes are in store for the Placer Hills pool in the future. “Virginia Dains and her Art 4 Pools project will complete a really amazing tile mural, thank-you wall that will span the entire exterior wall of the locker house facing the pool. Also a shade structure is planned for the field-side lawn area,” Myrenne Willoughby said. “These are all next steps though. As it is, the facility is really amazing.” There is still time to get out to Meadow Vista and enjoy the water. The Placer Hills pool is open through August 14. For more information, contact the Auburn Recreation District: (530) 885-8461 To make a donation for Placer Hills pool programs, including future renovations and swim scholarships for students, contact: Andy Cramer at andrew_cramer@sbcglobal.net. -------------------------------------- PLACER HILLS POOL What: Free public swim day and free hot dog for first 200 people, sponsored by Meadow Vista Area Lions When: 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14 Where: 1130 Meadow Lane, off Placer Hills Road, Meadow Vista Regular pool hours: 12:30-4:15 p.m., Monday-Friday; 1-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, through Aug. 14 Regular pool admission: $2, age 6 and under; $3, age 7 and up