March 13, 2011
The deadline for Claudius Crozet Park is fast approaching to raise an additional $50,000 so construction can begin on a new year-round recreational center.
"It would just make things a whole lot simpler," said Elsa Strickland, a sophomore at Western Albemarle High School and member of the swim team.
The park's board wants to build a dome around the pool as part of a master plan for the park, transforming it into a year-round facility.
"The community has gotten behind this 100 percent," said Heidi Sonen, a member of the park's board. "This is something we've heard they wanted."
The park has raised $350,000 for the dome and rec center in one year. In order to get a matching grant by a local foundation, the board needs another $50,000 by April 1.
"I feel like it would just be good for the community," WAHS junior and swim team member Emma McKinley said.
"It would bring us all together," said Natalie Cronk, also a WAHS junior and member of the swim team.
The Western Albemarle swim team is hoping for a dome. The team practices 30 minutes away from the school, and swimmers usually can't dive in until after 8 p.m. on weeknights. A year-round pool just minutes from their school would help the teams.
The girls' team recently took home the state championship. The boys' team finished 17th in the state.
"It sort of throws off your schedule when you have to practice late at night then you have to come home and do your homework," McKinley said.
Not only would the dome provide a new home for the swim team, but it would also boost their morale.
"It would be nice if the state champion swim team could have their own home pool to call their own," swim coach Dan Bledsoe said.
"I think we'd have better practice attendance and just better team spirit if we could come here and practice all together," WAHS junior and swim team member Seana Acker said.
The new facility wouldn't just benefit swimmers. The board wants to transform the park and feature basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, walking trail and other amenities that Crozet residents of all ages can enjoy.
"Just being able to make it more accessible would accommodate these young families and older residents as well," said board member Melissa Miller, owner of M2 Personal Training.
Still, a deadline looms for the park.
"We just need that final push to get us over that hump by April 1," Sonen said.
Construction on the domed rec center would start this summer if the park meets its April 1 deadline. Meantime, the Western Albemarle swim team will take part in another fundraiser for the park. They'll swim laps in the Splash for Cash event scheduled for March 23 at Crow Pool on Rose Hill Drive.