In 1977, a group of individuals had a vision of a community pool for the Village of Waldo. In 1978, they proposed a campaign of “Swim with Waldo,” a theme that has stayed with the pool. Through years of fundraising including chicken barbecues, community garage sales, pledges, “Swim with Waldo” t-shirts sales, and many volunteer hours, the community was able to raise $76,950. This was matched by a grant funding the total project of $153,900.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held on June 15, 1981, and the Waldo Pool officially opened for its first full season on May 29, 1982. Fundraising continued after the opening season and the community was able to pay off the pool note during the summer of 1987. The community gathered and a time capsule, filled with memorabilia, was buried on the pool grounds in celebration. This was a large accomplishment for a small village of citizens that were determined to give the community a place to gather and make lifelong memories.
The Waldo Pool has been a beloved staple in this community for 40 years. A quiet and relaxed setting to enjoy the summer with friends and family. Over the last 40 years, the Waldo Pool has been operated by many community leaders who were committed to continuing the legacy of the previous generations. Through hard work, dedication, and the financial support of local businesses and citizens, the Waldo Pool has proudly stood the test of time.
Over the past several years, the Waldo Pool has faced unfavorable adversities that would cripple most community-run establishments. Through the support of the Village of Waldo, Waldo Township Trustees, and community citizens, the pool has persevered and has opened for its 40th season.
In 2021, a group of citizens determined to keep the legacy of the pool alive formed the Waldo Swim and Recreation Pool Board. Members include Jennifer Babb, Kevin Emigh, Ashley Klingel, Natalie Longmeier, Doug Parks, and Kelly Talley. Safety and transparency are their biggest goals. The board has been hard at work the last two years on improving the facility. Improvements include plumbing, restrooms, pool floor, painting, and overall operations. Last year, they were thrilled to be gifted a set of stairs from Waldo Township Trustees to make entry into the pool easier for all patrons.
Klingel, whose grandfather was instrumental in building and leading the pool board in its first 20 years, is leading the pool board today.
“As with everything over time, the pool has aged. It is now facing several major repairs. As vital as the fundraising and community support was 45 years ago, it remains just as important today,” said Klingel. “To keep the pool alive for future generations to enjoy, it is pertinent to come together as a community to fund the needed repairs. The pool board is committed to leading the charge to make sure the repairs are completed as necessary.”
“This year we have hit the ground running with our fundraising activities,” said Talley. “Earlier this year we had a successful iPad raffle. We have gained local business sponsorships and we are currently raffling off a vacation to Kissimmee, Florida. “Swim with Waldo” t-shirts are available, and on June 18th we will have a community-wide fundraising event celebrating the past 40 years. Admission will be free to the public, donations are welcomed. We will be honoring our founders by hosting a Chicken Barbecue using the exact recipes used 45 years ago, a shaded tent for dining, and memorabilia from the early years.”
Half chicken dinners will be available for $15.00 along with other hot food items. There will be water and land games for the entire family to enjoy. Food will be served from 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm and the pool will be open until 8:00 pm. The board invites the Marion community to the Waldo Pool on June 18th to “Swim with Waldo.” The rain date for the event is June 25.