Lara K. Richards
The city of Paducah is trying to “make a splash” in 2022.
He launched a $575,000 campaign to restore his historic 1937 Works Progress Administration Pool, which has been closed since 2018. The pool is a very cherished part of the community’s rich history, and its restoration is important to help keep those fond memories come alive, according to Paducah Pool Committee Chair Mona Gregory.
“Closing the pool – this pool had a lot of history. It meant a lot to my mom and dad, to our family members,” said Gregory, whose family has called Paducah home for generations. It’s something we need to keep alive for our community.”
Construction of the city pool began in 1935 and was completed in 1937. The facility is a massive 124-foot by 58-foot pool that holds 330,000 gallons of water, but the facility’s over 80 years was deteriorating and maintenance was costly, according to Mayor Rodger Brannen.
The city has made numerous repairs and upgrades to the facility over the past few decades, but the structure has continued to deteriorate due to its age, he said.
Brannen, who was a city council member in 2018, said he voted “yes” to close the pool three years ago.
“I was huge trying to get the pool closed at the time. I did it because I felt it wasn’t safe,” he said. “But I will do everything I can to get it reopened now.”
This fall, the Paducah Pool Committee held events such as bake-outs, a silent auction, and a raffle to raise funds, and the restoration project was also successful in receiving grants.
In November 2021, the city received a $1,500 grant from the South Plains Electric Cooperative Community Grant Program. Then in mid-December 2021, the project received an $80,000 grant from a North Texas foundation.
The first $40,000 of the grant is automatic, but the remaining $40,000 is a challenge grant, meaning the city must raise $40,000 to then receive the additional $40,000 from the foundation.
Gregory and the rest of the Paducah Pool Committee are confident the people of Paducah will rise to the challenge, she said.
Gregory said the city initially explored building a new pool, which would have cost around $450,000. But it would have been a much smaller installation.
“Are we going to restore it or build a new one? It was the first decision we had to make,” Gregory said. “But I had 100% of the people I spoke to who said restore. There’s a lot of excitement around it. When you hear the number of what it’s going to cost, people take a step back, but they’re still excited.
The restoration will retain the footprint of the current pool but transform the shallow end of the pool into a modern paddling pool design. The city hopes to begin construction in summer 2022 with hopes of reopening the pool by summer 2023.
If you would like to make a contribution to the Paducah Pool Project, you can mail your check to the City of Paducah, Box 759, or you can send Venmo funds to @paducahtxpoolproject.
For more information on the project, follow the Paducah TX Pool Project on Facebook.