Friday afternoon, a dream came true, not just for local children, but a Huntingdon family as well.
Melvin Isett and his children, Chet Isett and wife, Sandy, Eileen (Isett) Moore and Judy Isett, gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Isett Community Pool’s newest addition, a splash park.
The pool’s newest addition was made possible through the generosity of the Isett family’s foundation, the J. Melvin and Beulah Isett Community Foundation.
“I wish my wife could see this, but I’m sure she’s watching over us,” said Isett. “This was one of her dreams.”
In addition to funding the splash park, the Isetts’ contribution of $257,000 also included the purchase of a climbing wall and a Wibit inflatable obstacle course.
“It’s wonderful that we could make this happen,” said Isett. “We all belong to this community and we’ve made it our home and it’s important we give back to the community that did for us.”
The park, which includes bright colorful features, such as a turtle, rabbit and squirt guns and is geared for children 4 years and under, was Isett’s idea.
“It looks even nicer than I thought it would,” he said. “Now it’s up to the community to enjoy this. When they enjoy it, I enjoy it, and my family does, too.”
Borough manager Dan Varner said the Isetts’ donation is in addition to the annual commitment the family makes toward maintaining the pool facility.
“We’re excited to see the pool grow and expand,” said Varner.
Borough council member and chair of the parks, recreation and public property committee Bob Jackson gave thanks to the Isetts and kudos to others who helped to make the project possible.
“It’s because of the generosity of the Isetts and their foundation that we were able to do this without spending taxpayers’ dollars,” he said. “In addition, our borough manager (Dan Varner), assistant borough manager (Chris Stevens) and our pool manager (Mary Ann Buckley) did a lot of the legwork to put this in motion.”
Jackson also noted the borough’s water and maintenance department also assisted with water lines and excavation work.
“It was a team effort,” he said, also extending thanks to his committee members and members of the borough’s Parks and Recreation Commission. “The kids enjoying this today will bring their kids here someday. We can’t thank the Isetts enough for their ongoing support.”
Ed Tos, chair of the Parks and Recreation Committee, which was created by council three years ago, also thanked those involved.
“The splash park was a concept (the committee) grabbed a hold of. We were there when a new leadership team came into the borough and their energy, along with the Isetts generosity, really helped to make this happen,” said Tos. “In addition to the Isetts, Bob Jackson and Dan Varner deserve a lot of credit for making this happen.”
John C. Yenter Associates Inc. of Alexandria was the contractor for the project that took six weeks to complete.
“Thank you to the borough and the Isett family for trusting us with this project,” said Yenter owner Alan Boyer, noting this was the first project of its kind the company had constructed. “I have the best employees who weren’t afraid to take on the challenge.”
Mayor Dave Wessels said the additions to the pool are one of the best gifts the Isetts could give the community.
“We owe them a tremendous thank you,” he said. “We never had anything like this when I was a kid and this should get rid of the stigma that there’s nothing for kids to do in Huntingdon.”
Pool manager Mary Ann Buckley said the public’s response to the additions has been exceptionally positive.
“They love it,” she said, noting the features have brought in additional memberships. “We were looking for something that would bring in the 7-15-year-olds and older and this worked.”
Admission to the pool is $3 a day and visitors can use the wall and obstacle course for an additional $1. The obstacle course is available for use Sundays and Mondays, whereas the wall can be used every day.
“It’s important for people to know the rules before they use the wall, but there’s always someone on it,” said Buckley, noting there are membership options for senior citizens, families and individuals.
The pool, which was constructed in 2001 and opened to swimmers, is also available for private party rentals after hours and the pavilion may be rented during regular pool hours. For more information, call the pool at 643-2530.
Wessels’ Wildside Productions will be at the pool for a splash party Thursday, June 20, Wednesday, July 3, and Thursday, July 25.
Becky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.