WILLIAMSTOWN -- Sand Springs Recreational Center announced that it has received key donations from Williamstown Savings Bank, the Clark Art Institute, and an anonymous donor.
A new fundraising thermometer at the top of Water Street shows that the group has raised over $405,000 in the past eight months to purchase, improve, and operate the Sand Springs Pool - more than 70 percent of its $575,000 goal. SSRC president Janette Kessler Dudley said the group needs $170,000 more before March 15, when the group’s purchase option with the owners expires.
"We applaud the Sand Springs Recreational Center board for coming forward and stepping up to save Sand Springs Pool, a priceless community treasure," Steve Crowe, director and former CEO of Williamstown Savings Bank, said. "They have completed an impressive amount of preparatory work and are approaching this process in a manner that will lead to a successful and sustainable re-opening of the pool as a community gathering place. Williamstown Savings Bank is very pleased to be able to support this worthy initiative through our donation to the capital campaign."
"The Clark is delighted to be able to support this important project, which will not only preserve an historic landmark, but will also reinvent it in an exciting way," John Skavlem, associate director of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, added. "We are particularly impressed with the group’s plans to create partnerships with local community organizations such as the Williamstown Youth Center and Williamstown Elementary School.
"In addition, we think the importance of creating informal community gathering places cannot be overstated, much as the Clark campus serves this purpose. We sincerely hope that our gift underscores the significance of this project to the community and spurs other institutions and businesses to do their part to keep it alive."
As part of its objective of becoming a true community organization, Sand Springs Recreational Center has held discussions with the Williamstown Youth Center and Williamstown Elementary School about collaborating with their summer programs.
"The Youth Center is excited about the group’s efforts to save Sand Springs Pool and also about the creation of the Samuelson Swim Academy," David Rempell, director of the Williamstown Youth Center, said. "Having swim lessons available for children in the community throughout the summer is very appealing. We have met with the group to discuss the Youth Center’s use of the pool, on a regular basis, during our summer camp program. Assuming transportation and logistics can be worked out, we think this will be a valuable offering for the Youth Center."
While expressing optimism about achieving the group’s fundraising objectives, members of the board emphasized that it still needs strong support from local businesses, institutions, and individuals.
"We are in the final phase of raising money for the pool, and hope folks will rally and support this important cause," board member Jennifer Trainer Thompson said. "We can’t meet the goals without the community contributing - it’s sink or swim!"
The Samuelson Swim Academy will offer group, semi-private, and private lessons to children and adults in the community. Swimming scholarships will be available to local children. In addition, the academy hopes to offer therapeutic swimming options to the elderly and people with special needs.
The academy was named in honor of Carl Samuelson, long-time head swim coach at Williams College, and his wife Nancy. As a member of the board of directors, "Coach Sam" will lend his significant expertise to programming at the new Sand Springs.
"Sand Springs can be a place to have fun, to learn to swim or sharpen swim skills, to exercise and rehabilitate, and enjoy the outdoors in the Berkshires," Samuelson said.
Olympic gold medalist Samantha (Arsenault) Livingstone, who moved to Williamstown last winter, is helping to shape the swim program. She is currently providing private lessons and popular clinics to young swimmers in the community and hopes to continue this at the new Sand Springs.
Sand Springs has been a jewel of the northern Berkshire region for nearly 250 years. The curative properties of the pure spring water and the bucolic setting have attracted residents and tourists for generations. One of the only thermal spas in the Northeast, the water of Sand Springs bubbles to the surface at a mean temperature of 72 degrees throughout the year. The Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built on the site in 1907. The George family purchased the property in 1950 and operated it for more than 50 years before selling it to Wampanaug Springs, Inc., in 2003. Under Wampanaug’s ownership, the facility was completely renovated and updated. The current owners have decided to discontinue operations and have been trying to sell the facility for several years. Although it was opened briefly last summer, the owners have no plans to open it in the future.
The Sand Springs Springwater Company, owned by Maxine and Jennifer Morin, has existed on the property above the pool since 1893, and was the site of the former four-story Greylock Hotel and the smaller Sand Springs House.
To help support the effort to re-open the historic Sand Springs, donations may be made online at www.sandspringspool.org.
Contributions may also be made by check to Sand Springs Recreational Center, Inc. at P. O. Box 800, Williamstown, MA 01267. Sand Springs Recreational Center is a 501(c)(3) organization and all contributions are fully tax-deductible. For more info: email@example.com.