By: Ryan Epley
Center Director – Guthrie YMCA
Shortly after World War II, 1947 to be exact, the community of Guthrie, OK was blessed with a municipal pool. Over the past 65 summers, multiple generations of Guthrie Citizens have had the enjoyment of cooling off, playing, learning how to swim, and celebrating birthdays and special events at the Highland Park Pool.
Unfortunately, due to financial hardships, the City of Guthrie was being forced to close their public pool. Prior to making a final decision the city manager approached our Guthrie YMCA with a request to consider operating the pool. Without a managing partner the pool was sure to close.
After researching the costs associated with managing the pool we were almost certain that it would not be a money-making project and possibly not a breakeven task at hand. With the three areas of focus in mind when finalizing our decision, we came to a conclusion that managing the pool would not only include Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility, but would also continue a 65-year-old service that has been embedded in the lives and memories, and traditions of so many generations. As most individuals involved in the Y movement would guess, we accepted the undertaking.
Since the Y began management of the pool, we have been able to provide higher quality, improved safety and more programming and structure to the operation than it has had in the past. The pool is not only utilized for Y swim lessons and group exercise now, but hours have been expanded to accommodate for more family swim time. Y members are also given free access to the pool with their membership, increasing overall membership value.
Without this community partnership the Guthrie Municipal Pool would have been closed ending additional memories to the already 65 years of summer fun in the sun.