1936 The Natatorium, a heated salt-water pool, burned to the ground during the 1936 fire. It was a famous landmark.
1955-1960’s Various Citizens Committees, earnest fundraisers (About 4,000 total)
1980’s City of Bandon Committee: City Manager, Bill Russell from City Council, Lions Club members. $30,000 raised (including the $4000) was then donated to the Coquille Swimming Pool.
1998 The Mayor’s Cultural and Recreation Committee was formed to construct the Bandon Aquatic Center.
1990’s Bond to form a Recreation District: Failed
Rotary raised around $30,000 toward the Aquatic Center which we understand was finally donated to the Sprague Theater.
2005 Michael Sterling with help from Bill Russell formed 501-C3 non-profit Bandon Community Swimming Pool Development Corporation
2006 Bandon School District 54 promises property on Hwy 101 near High School for long term $1.00 per year lease.
2005-2007 Many grants received, fundraisers successful. Costs incurred: Architect Fees, insurance, wetland studies, surveys, engineering.
2008 Recession, most grants stop
2012 Bond election, lawyer and court fees. Bond failed
School district retracted property deal.
10 acres purchased with vision that it bordered City Park and that City might trade for Park property and Pool Board could sell some of acreage.
2012-2014 New Board members, new ideas: Pool supported by a co-op and run by Board with professional employees.
2015 May 15, meeting at Library 50+ attending, support group formed:
LOOP (now 435 members)
Fundraising continued, endowments, pledges
Two members attended “How to Build a Pool” by USA Swimming in Montana. “More than half swimming pools in US are non-profit board administered and fee supported.”
2016 Feasibility Study:
9000 Population: Port Orford, Coquille, Bandon north past Bandon Dunes. $250,000 year for indoor solar heated pool(s), Paid Staff: I manager, 4-6 part time employees.
$40.00 per month from 500 members of co-op= $200,000 per year. Added funds from fund raisers and pass holders, punch cards.
“Enough is enough,” say the people of the City of Bandon who have been without an aquatic center for 80 years. They are now determined to see one built in the city within the next two years. Over half the US population—adults and children—cannot swim. Bandon is surrounded by ocean, rivers, and wetlands. The people say that public safety demands they ensure that statistic doesn’t apply to Bandon residents.
The Natatorium, a heated salt-water pool, burned to the ground during the 1936 fire. It was a famous landmark—written up in the Portland Oregonian and even part of a Catalina bathing suit advertisement. Fundraising for a new aquatic center began in earnest in 1955 and has continued off and on since then. The $4,000 raised in the 1950s became part of the $30,000 raised in the 1980s which was then donated to the Coquille Swimming Pool. This covered costs for Bandon children to use the Coquille pool during the summer.
In 1998 The Mayor’s Cultural and Recreation Committee was formed to construct the Bandon Aquatic Center. Judy Densmore was Mayor, Dan Almich was Chairperson, and Matt Winkle was City Manager. A tax for a recreation district was proposed and the Bond Issue failed. Rotary raised around $30,000 toward the Aquatic Center which we understand was finally donated to the Sprague Theater.
In 2005 a new group of determined, persevering residents formed a 501©3 non-profit corporation to build the pool. Since then all donations by organizations or individuals have been tax deductible. The Bandon School District, the Mayor’s Cultural and Recreation Committee, a Bond Issue, and the Rotary all considered land or funds to help build a pool. Nothing came of any of it. So there was—and remains—no place for children and adults to swim year-round, indoors in the City of Bandon, one of the best known holiday spots in Oregon.
“Unacceptable,” said the Bandon Community Swimming Pool Board. Members continued investigating how, where and when to build a pool. A 10-acre site adjacent to the southern edge of the City Park was bought in 2014. A wetland study has been approved by the US Corps of Engineers, preliminary drawings which site the pool, access roads, and utility lines have been drawn, and the current Board has $225,000 in the bank. A recent work party saw volunteer residents and visitors aged 9 through 89 completing a trail to the pool location. Materials were generously donated by Bandon organizations.
The aquatic center now envisioned is an indoor, six-lane, competition-sized, heated swimming pool and adjacent therapeutic pool. A toddlers’ pool is in the plan for 2-3 years after opening, depending on funds availability. The center will be run as a cooperative. Swimmers can join as cooperative members, and visitors can pay daily fees.
The Board is continuing its fund raising, but larger amounts are needed. It has spent or has on hand $700,000 of the total $3,000,000 project cost. It needs another $800,000—which will bring us to half the project cost—before it can apply to philanthropic organizations for matching funds. The longer the process is dragged out, the more is spent on insurance, taxes, state fees, fund raising, design costs, and advertising. If the group raises $800,000 now, it can apply for matching funds later this year and early 2017, advancing to groundbreaking in 2018. Donors who wish to ensure their funds are spent wisely can pledge an amount to be paid at groundbreaking; this pledged amount will count toward the $800,000.
Enthusiasm has grown and plans have been made. Local grants are being solicited to reach the $800,000 goal. Writers are standing by ready to address the philanthropic organizations. The new Aquatic Center membership will be available to residents of Southern Coos and Northern Curry counties, and to local visitors. Jobs will be provided and the reputation of Bandon as a fun, safe city to visit will be enhanced. Bandon Mayor Mary Schamehorn is on board, stating recently, “…I can’t wait until Bandon has its own swimming pool. This group of dedicated volunteers is pretty serious about building a pool in Bandon, and I certainly hope they are successful.”
The number of community residents and visitors who support the pool and that have joined LOOP (Lovers of our Pool) continues to rise. Sign-up here or by telephoning 541-347-5157. As the community continues to rally around the cause, groundbreaking in 2019 seems increasingly likely. The community urges people to join the group in its uphill but determined swim to create the Bandon Community Aquatic Center.