Archive for Friday, June 11, 2010

Historic private Lawrence swimming club struggling to open this season

The County Fair Swim Club will be open for summer business June 18. Club secretary Jessica Hansen, left, and president Missi Pfeifer are some of the residents trying to keep the pool up and running.

The County Fair Swim Club will be open for summer business June 18. Club secretary Jessica Hansen, left, and president Missi Pfeifer are some of the residents trying to keep the pool up and running.

June 11, 2010


County Fair Swim Club

For the past eight years, Missi Pfeifer has managed to open the County Fair Swim Club pool in time for Memorial Day weekend.

But not this year.

The money simply isn’t there. That’s why she’s now counting on the community to offer a life preserver.

“Every year we try to make improvements that you can make,” Pfeifer said. “But you’ve got a pool that’s 50 years old, something is always breaking down.”

Pfeifer is the president of the pool and spends much of her time fundraising for the east Lawrence nonprofit fixture.

It’s a labor of love. When she was young, Pfeifer lived in the same neighborhood where she lives today. She recalls spending countless summer hours with friends at the pool.

The pool was donated to the neighborhood 49 years ago. Since then, it’s been up to families who live nearby to keep it open. It costs $15,000 per year for maintenance, life guard fees, filling the pool and other costs.

“I still have a lot of people who volunteer, who buy memberships,” Pfeifer said. “It’s just not near enough to support the pool.”

The cost to enter the Lawrence city pool is about $5 per day. Pfeifer charges $2 per day, and cuts that cost in half after 5 p.m. According to pool volunteer Jessica Hansen, “a lot of kids come at 5 p.m. because they can’t afford $2. Some kids pay with pennies to get in.”

An event in April helped raise about $2,000 for the pool, leaving $13,000 still needed for the summer season.

A yard sale starting at dawn is scheduled for Saturday at the pool. Organizers are hoping to raise enough to open the pool by Father’s Day weekend.

“I believe we will definitely open this season,” Hansen said. “It will be late, but worst case is we won’t raise enough money to make it to next year.”

For more information on the pool, and to make a donation, visit the County Fair Swim Club website at


Clark Coan 7 years, 7 months ago

I didn't know it was a nonprofit venture. That pool is ancient--half a century old! How many use it?

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

QT - Yes, we are a Non-Profit 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. We have a lot of families and children that use the pool on a regular basis. On a good day, we have had 25-50 people swim, sometimes more. The pool is a very special and we are certainly proud that it has been open for 49 years. We would love to make it to (and through!) 50!

Shockem211 7 years, 7 months ago

I live in East Lawrence and never knew it existed! Sounds like a good place for the local children to go for a great price! Thank you to everyone that has put time and money into this venture. I will look into using the facility at some point!

betti81 7 years, 7 months ago

I went here everyday of every summer visit for most of my elementary years. Such a great place. Made life long friends and have so many memories. I hope to make it out to the garage sale to show support. Hope others do to.

JustNoticed 7 years, 7 months ago

How can you write this and not say where it is? Where is it?

Richard Heckler 7 years, 7 months ago

The pool is very close to Kennedy School.

Our children used for a few years. It will require some parental involvement as well as money...not a bad deal.

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

Penny, the pool is located at 2119 Maple Lane, diagonally across from Kennedy Elementary. More information on the pool can be found on our website

Betti - The CFSC is a great place! We are saddened that we have not been able to open yet this season, but we are pushing to open by Father's Day!

JustNoticed 7 years, 7 months ago

Thanks. The location is also missing from the pool's website. Pretty cool place.

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

It's on the "About Us" page:

I will modify the site to reflect the address on the main page.

Maddy Griffin 7 years, 7 months ago

This is right down the street from our house. I didn't know it was open to the public. I thought it was private membership only. How can I help? It would be much easier to walk the grands down the street instead of taking them to the city pool.

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

We are offering a membership deal this year $125 for a six person membership for the summer. General admission for a one day pass is $2 per person. Pretty good deal, especially when you are right down the street!

Alia Ahmed 7 years, 7 months ago

Here are some interesting links about the attempt to integrate swimming pools in Lawrence about the time this one was built, if it is indeed 50 years old.

missi 7 years, 7 months ago

Dear Logan the pool is indeed 49 years old this year! It was built in 1961 by a handfull of neighbors who took out a note and made this happen for their community! The only project hired out was the digging of the hole for the pool! It might have been a members only pool then, but only in order to support itself. Members paid there dues and were proud to do so to have such a great place for their chldren to spend the summer! To this day it has been maintained and cared for by nothing but volunteers, who all work very hard to keep this old tradition going for the kids in our neighborhood! We are open from 1-8pm everyday, their is always a lifeguard on duty, or a mom or 2 to keep you inline! Its old but its a great little place you should come check it out!

Alia Ahmed 7 years, 7 months ago


I live close to there and have thought about bringing my grandkids when they are visiting me. There used to be a neighborhood pool just west of 9th and Lawrence Avenue and my kids used to go there because they could walk there. It's not there anymore, houses or apartment now.

RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

Swam in that pool on it's opening day! Parents lived in the area at the time. Didn't know it was even still there.

missi 7 years, 7 months ago

Would love to have seen this pool on its opening day!

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

75x55 - We are working towards that. We've built the website, added a group to Facebook, we've been on the radio, Channel 6 did an interview. We hope to make our presence known throughout this next year and continue our fund-raising efforts to ensure that we are not in this situation every year.

inklines 7 years, 7 months ago

For those of you who are having second thoughts about donating to KU, this would be a worthy alternative.

nascarmomma 7 years, 7 months ago

This pool is a great place for the kids. I have swam there several times with my kids. They even offer swim lessons at a reasonal price. I have already donated but they need a lot more people to also do so. To bad the rain didn't hold off for the garage sale. Kick some money raising butt Missi!! Love you and what you do for our kids!

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

We appreciate everyone who has stopped in to donate to the cause or purchase items from our sale. We made it through the rain and we are still out here. Plenty of items left! We're ready to make a deal!

OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 7 months ago

I have to ask: Why is there a $13K shortfall all of the sudden? What did they do in years past to come up with the money they needed? What JUST happened that they are now insolvent?

jmhansen 7 years, 7 months ago

OldEnuf - The pool is run by volunteers that all have full time jobs and children . That makes it extremely difficult to continuously work on fund-raising. In addition, fund-raising has been down this year. In years past, we have relied on the community donations in addition to memberships. For the last two years the County Fair Swim Club was a St. Patty's Day Committee donation recipient. Also, memorial donations from the President's deceased father contributed to running the pool. I hope this answers your question. If you would like to volunteer your time and ideas, we would be open to that. :)

Clevercowgirl 7 years, 7 months ago

There might be grants out there to help fund the pool. Also, maybe the boys and girls club could use your pool. They are funded by the community and grants. Maybe you could create an arrangement with them, and increase your funding base. Just some ideas. :-D

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