Pool committee to seek funding through fundraisers, possible bond

Finding ways to raise money for an aged pool facility was top of the discussion among board directors of the Lebanon Aquatic District during the Feb. 19 board meeting.

Board Director Laurie Dennis provided an update on the most recent meeting of a newly-formed fundraising committee, which was held Feb. 16. She said the board had been anticipating a need of $1.5 million to address the facility’s biggest priorities, but now she estimates it may be closer to $2 million.

“Are we able to raise all that? We’re throwing everything into it and we’re gonna work like heck,” she said.

The committee plans to host a “Lebanon Laps” event in May, during which time swimmers can solicit pledges for every lap they swim (solicitors can opt instead to jog in the warm pool or walk around the deck). They will also look for sponsors who are willing to help pick up the bigger tab. Proceeds will be placed in the pool renovation fund.

Committee member Dorothy Bell created a poster explaining the history of the pool, which highlights how Lebanon’s children went from swimming in the swift Santiam River to an outdoor pool at the high school (now an indoor pool).

Despite a failed school district bond measure in 2022 – half of which was intended to pay for pool renovations – Dennis said the pool district itself “should not rule out” a small bond measure in the near future.

“We do need a backup plan,” she said.

Given what they consider is a high priority need at the facility against the backdrop of difficult economic times, the committee kicked around the question regarding a timeline for obtaining needed funding.

“The hard thing is, we don’t know how much time we have,” Dennis said at the board meeting. “We don’t want to reach a catastrophic point and lose the opportunity altogether.”

Board Director Peg Snyder reminded the board that a survey during the recent bond measure returned a positive response about the pool itself from the community.

“I think people could appreciate the fact we’re really trying by doing our own fundraising,” Snyder said.

In other business:

◆ Board Chair Mark McAllister reported the district is working on a renewed lease agreement for the facilities with the Lebanon Community School District;
◆ The board approved the 2024-25 fiscal year budget calendar and applications for budget committee membership;
◆ The board heard a financial report from Executive Director Lorlee Engler, who said the tax payments are beginning to roll in. She added the boiler is scheduled to be replaced between March 26 through April 7;
◆ Board Vice Chair Kim Kendall asked Engler to make all past and current resolutions available on a thumb drive so she could review them. Some discussion on the matter revolved around what level of priority the project would take. Engler had reported at the January meeting that she just completed a catalog of every resolution, but she has not yet completed scanning every single resolution. She said she also brings resolutions to the board from time to time when it is noted they should be updated. McAllister said his understanding was that the public, including board members, can submit a request to see the documents at a cost.