More than 50 years ago the Parke County community came together to create a plan for children to swim in a safe environment. At the time, there were several drowning incidents involving children swimming in creeks, streams and ponds. Our community took it upon themselves to create a safe swimming environment by constructing the Beechwood Park pool. Labor supervisors Edward Gould, Robert Newsom, Edward Mann, Dick Smith Jr., Charles McCullough and approximately 40 volunteers donated their time to construct this project at night and on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The pool’s cost estimate, built the “normal way” would have cost approximately $120,000. Only $25,530 was needed to be raised by the public and $134.25 was spent on labor. This difference between the estimated cost of a pool this size and the actual amount needed to construct the pool was represented by volunteer labor and supervision, donated equipment and materials. The pool officially opened on August 19, 1958.
56 years later the Parke County community faces a similar situation. A large group of Parke County youth are living in an “at risk” environment, and the presence of a community pool, which was closed one summer, is vital in maintaining a safe, fun and meaningful childhood for hundreds of Parke County youth.
Several efforts have taken place to repair and enhance the original pool; the walls and floor were re-poured in 2007, the baby pool was converted to a splash pool in 2009, complete with its own new filtering system. However, the 56 year-old filtering system of the Olympic pool, including pumps, lines, drains and skimmers are were worn out as well as not meeting code.
However,after the latest renovation in 2014, The Beechwood Park Pool enjoyed its best summer attendance since 1958 once it was reopened. Evening swim hours, private parties, a Splash Hop, free Red Cross swim lessons to more than 40 children, adult swim, and free sunscreen for attendees were some of the offerings made available by the Beechwood Parks Department.
The pool was closed for more than two summer seasons during the fundraising phase. Graves Plumbing, Linton, Indiana was the renovation contractor. The Foundation contributed $33,000 to this project.
The pool renovation came at a $400K price-tag, equally funded by the Town of Rockville and private donations. The pool not only attracted Parke County swimmers, but also patrons from Vigo, Vermillion, and Clay counties. Congratulations Parke County, for saving an important recreational gem that can serve Parke County citizens for another 50 years.