The town of Trent will keep its swimming hole.
A new group of residents have prevented the sale of the pool that was gifted to the community in 1952 by finding affordable liability insurance that covers the pool and its volunteer board. In addition, they have a plan that will focus on cleaning up the eight-acre site, getting non-profit status and turning the area into something to do for people of all ages.
“It’s not all about swimming. It’s about using the facility,” said Tammy Wendell, one of five new board members. She and others met with about 25 residents on June 29 to explain the status of the pool and to seek ideas that need to be incorporated into what will become more of a park.
The Trent Community Association, which oversees the pool, has found a million-dollar liability policy and an umbrella policy to cover board members. “For less than $1,400 a year, everything at the pool is covered and all your board members are covered,” Wendell said.
The efforts to save Trent’s iconic swimming hole from an auction started at the end of May when residents discovered that the property was being sold by the Trent Community Association board without input from others. No one said they wanted to see the property sold, not even the 12- member board making decisions, but they had not been able to find insurance they could afford because the bottom of the pool isn’t visible, they said. Instead, if they sold the property, they would be able to buy playground equipment for the kids in town.
The city had decreased its financial support of the pool and had never had a liability policy on the property, something the board members found out about last fall.
At a public meeting on May 26, residents asked if a new board could come in with a plan within 30 days. The old board agreed that they would then resign.
The new board wants to apply for a 501c3 non-profit status that will allow the group to seek grants to help pay for things that are needed at the pool. They want to add playground equipment, possibly a walking path behind the spring-fed body of water, more security lights, a fishing area and campsites to generate income that can be used for improvements.
“We have awfully big plans,” Wendell said.
They also plan fundraisers, including a fall festival and a farmer’s market, for example. They invite any ideas people in the community and surrounding area might have.
But first, the board will hold a cleanup day yet this summer, inviting anyone to help take down dead trees and rid the property of weeds and debris.
The board has a list of projects, including the bathhouse upgrade, that will take more than this year to accomplish.
Outgoing Flandreau Mayor Mark Bonrud attended the meeting and said the board should look for help outside of Trent, too, because people in the area can use the pool. “When you start this work party, make it county wide. The same thing when you ask for donations,” he said.
The new board hopes to make the association more transparent to the public, too. Board members will post meeting times on a Facebook page and the financial books will be open for others to see, Wendell said. The other board members are Morris Kirkegaard as president, Julie Wood, Stacy Franken and Lisa Brown.
The board also wants to set up a system in which other community members start to fill in on the board.
“The five of us have no intentions of becoming permanent,” Wood said. “We want to get a foundation laid for whoever comes in next.”
Kirkegaard, who owns campgrounds next to the pool property, said he sees positives for the swimming hole’s future, and the board wants to make sure the property continues to be mowed this year and looks nice, even though it is closed for the season.
“It’s a good feeling that I’m getting is we will have a swimming pool by fall. We’ll be open for business next year,” he said.