The new Crossett city pool manager says life guards are trained and the pool will open mid-June, but the pool project as whole is not complete and may require more funding.

Crossett Recreation Commissioner Shelly Carter announced that Sarah Hollimon was hired as the new pool manager at last month’s city council meeting.

Hollimon said her staff of 11 life guards are trained and ready to go, but they are still waiting on a few construction projects to wrap up.

In addition to prepping her staff, Hollimon is also working with the recreation commission on new ways to bring revenue into the pool such as birthday party rentals and water exercise classes.

Last week, during a special city council meeting, the council allocated $60,000 to operate the pool, which was something the council agreed to do before applying for grant funding for its refurbishment.

Councilwoman Crystal Marshall said that the amount was only a projected number and could fluctuate based on the revenue ideas that Hollimon has in mind. Marshall also said that she expected maintenance and general operations on the pool to be lower than years before as the leaks and other issues that were costing extra each month are now repaired.

Marshall also announced that an additional $15,000 for a diving board and slide has been raised with three donors each donating $5,000. Ideal Construction, Century Next Bank and Barry Switzer each contributed $5,000 to fund the amount of a diving board and slide.

“We cannot thank our donors enough,” Marshall said. “The community has given so much to make this pool happen.”

When Crossett was awarded a grant for $250,000, the funding came with the requirement for a match, which meant the city had to raise $250,000 of its own to contribute to the project as well.

The city received the Blue and You Grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield for approximately $100,000. Cherub Alford with Crossett Economic Development said that the remaining funds needed were made up of small grants and community contributions.

Marshall said the contribution by Century Next Bank made them the largest local donor with a total of $55,000 in donations. Herb and Cheryl Hutchinson was the second highest local donor with a total of $25,000.

Hutchinson said that the funds were happily given as a gift from his wife and himself to recognize how hard the community has worked to re-open the pool.

“Such a gift was happily given in recognition of our gratitude and congratulations to everyone who has worked diligently to provide our community with this new opportunity; Crossett and Ashley County are most deserving,” Hutchinson said.

Alford said that even though the pool will be open this summer, the work is not finished. The recreation commission has a list of plans that they would like to see come to life at the new pool area. Alford said renovating the pool house, adding a splash pad and upgrading the tennis courts are a few items on that list that the commission would like to obtain funding for.

There will be a public meeting about the project at 5 p.m. June 18 at the Crossett Economic Development building. Alford said the public is encouraged to come and give their opinions on the future pool projects and input on potential grant funding.

“We need people to come and share their ideas, not just about the pool, but about all recreational opportunities, in the City of Crossett,” Alford said.

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