The non-profit group hoping to purchase Sand Springs is more than two-thirds toward its fundraising goal. It must still raise $170,000 by March 15.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The effort to purchase Sand Springs received a boost last week with donations from Williamstown Savings Bank, the Clark Art Institute and an anonymous donor.
The non-profit Sand Springs Recreational Center has raised now raised more than $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.
Sand Springs has been a jewel of the Northern Berkshire region for nearly 250 years and the purported 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 Co., 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.
"We applaud the Sand Springs Recreational Center board for coming forward and stepping up to save Sand Springs Pool, a priceless community treasure," said Stephen Crowe, director and former CEO of Williamstown Savings Bank. "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," said John Skavlem, associate director of the Clark Art. "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."
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," said David Rempell, director of the Williamstown Youth Center. "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."
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, longtime head swim coach at Williams College, and his wife, Nancy.
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.
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," he said.
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," said board member Jennifer Trainer Thompson. "We can't meet the goals without the community contributing — it's sink or swim!"
Members of the SSRC board include Joe Bergeron, Stephanie Boyd, Joe Cleary, Hugh Daley, Treasurer Christina Howard, Clerk Maryam Kamangar, Josiah Low, Steve Narey, Jane Patton, Carl Samuelson, Malcolm Smith and Jeff Stripp.
Donations may be made at www.sandspringspool.org or 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 information, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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