Tuhey Pool is More Than Swimming
Tuhey Pool has been the sole community pool for decades, so you’d think with all the changes that have occurred in Muncie, that Tuhey would have lost its significance.
Not even close.
When an unfunded mandate came down from the federal government to upgrade the drains, and more repairs were discovered, causing the closure of Tuhey Pool for two swim seasons, Tuhey Pool received lots attention from community focused organizations.
Renovations were a priority task for the Muncie Action Plan and was supported by our Indiana State Representative Sue Errington.
Everybody knew the importance of Tuhey Pool & Park.
For the last two years, the pool has been jointly operated by the City of Muncie and parents of Cardinal Swim Club team members through their wholly owned subsidiary, White River Aquatics. David George and Michael Hicks provided the leadership for the partnership.
According to Park Superintendent Harvey Wright, Mayor Dennis Tyler and Messrs. George and Hicks, the partnership was an incredible success. More than $14,000 was raised and will assist in replacing the roof on the historic bath house – a project led by Bill Morgan with the Historic Preservation & Rehabilitation Commission. `
As successful professionals, David George in commercial insurance and Michael Hicks as Director of Ball State’s prominent Center for Business and Economic Research soon discovered, operating a seasonal pool requires extensive planning and preparation outside of the summer swim season.
One of the organizations formed in 2010 to assist with a solution for Tuhey Pool was Cardinal Aquatics & Wellness (CAW), a 501c(3) non-profit organization whose mission is twofold: 1) operate a safe, family oriented, and fiscally responsible pool in partnership with the community; and 2) develop a feasibility study to extend the swim season beyond 75-80 days.
The three principles of Cardinal Aquatics and Wellness, Steve Tomboni, Dr. Pete Voss, and Todd Smekens traveled to Virginia for a USA Swimming Build a Pool Conference where they were introduced to the four pillars of operating a pool: 1) learn to swim; 2) aquatic exercise; 3) rehab; and 4) competitive swimming. Tuhey Pool will need to incorporate as many pillars as possible to be successful.
Members of CAW worked closely with David George and Michael Hicks the past two years, so when the opportunity presented itself to take Tuhey to the next level, CAW raised the dollars needed from individual and corporate donors to acquire White River Aquatics from the Cardinal Swim Club on December 31, 2012.
With no time to spare, the board began implementing their plans for Tuhey and hired Jason Tucker to be the pool manager. Jason currently teaches at Muncie Central and has been trained to be a StarGuard Life Instructor and is being sent to obtain a Certified Pool Operators license. Dawn Cole, the assistant manager has also been hired and is working on program development.
So, what will be new at Tuhey Pool & Park this summer?
Through a generous $150 thousand gift by the Ball Brothers Foundation, the Muncie-Delaware County Community Foundation and City of Muncie, a new splash pad was added to the pool area this winter and will offer water fountains spurting from the ground which is guaranteed to be huge attraction for the age 5 and under crowd.
The officers of CAW worked diligently during the off season to gather bids for a pool heater to extend the swim season by ensuring warm pool water on opening day. Swim lessons provided by Cardinal Swim Club can begin day one instead of waiting until late June or early July. All patrons will benefit from a heated pool and increased lessons will help defray the costs of operating the pool.
Bids for a pool cover were also obtained. A pool cover will save thousands of dollars in chemical costs for taxpayers by preventing heat, chemical and evaporation loss on a daily basis. Conservative estimates are the cover will pay for itself within three years.
To help pay for a portion of the total costs, the City of Muncie Parks Department was awarded a generous $20,000 gift from the Kitselman Fund to be applied toward the purchase of a pool heater and cover. CAW is requesting the remaining funds on April 4th from the Muncie Redevelopment Commission since the facility lies within the downtown TIF district.
Also planned this summer are Tuhey Fit & Grill. These new additions consist of upgrades to the kitchen equipment to provide healthier menu options, and plenty of outdoor fitness programs in the pool, along the deck, and within the park.
Tuhey Grill will be accessible to patrons visiting the pool and enjoying other amenities like the playground area surrounding Tuhey Towers. The Grill will have two doors – one inside the pool area and another facing the playground area. Park Superintendent Harvey Wright is seeking to expand seating with picnic tables, umbrellas, and/or awning.
Tuhey Fit will focus on outdoor fitness programs like Zumba, yoga, boot camps, Splash and Dash 5K’s, walking, and water aerobics to name a few. Assistant Manager Dawn Cole will be responsible for developing Tuhey Fit. If you’re interested in teaching a program, or attending one, please contact her at 765-465-7054. More information will be coming soon on our website and social media.
We anticipate Tuhey Pool serving 25,000 patrons over the summer, so we are seeking local companies wanting to become summer sponsors.
Companies like Jarden, Magna Powertrain, Carpets Plus and organizations like MITS and Ball State University have already become sponsors. We anticipate the landscaping sponsorships going quick and there has been some mention of a “garden to table” concept in Tuhey Park. Check out Tuhey’s website for a breakdown of sponsorships available.
To address affordability, we’ve worked closely with Harvey Wright and directors at Ross, Buley, Blood-n-Fire, and Boys & Girls Club to develop a program called Tuhey Bucks. Tuhey Bucks can be earned by kids under the age of 14 by assisting park officials and center directors this summer. Helping clean the parks and center facilities, working in concession stands, and leading other kid’s programs are just some of the ways kids can earn Tuhey Bucks for entry into the pool.
We have just begun looking for sponsors to assist in underwriting this special program and will be limiting the number of platinum sponsors to around three.
All sponsors will receive plenty of recognition over the summer at the pool and throughout the community. Check out the Tuhey website for further information.
As we mentioned at the start of this letter, Tuhey is more than a place to swim – it’s where all four corners of the community can come together to make a positive impact upon our youth, parents, and seniors within Muncie and Delaware County.
We look forward to seeing you at Tuhey Pool & Park this summer.
Cardinal Aquatics & Wellness, Inc.
White River Aquatics, LLC.
Steve Tomboni, CEO
Todd Smekens, Finance & Public Relations Director
Dr. Pete Voss, Chairman of Board
Jason Arnold, Board Member
Jim Williams, Board Member
Jaime Faulkner, Board Member
Dr. Stephan Jones, Board Member
Mark Grasso, Board Member
Gary Schliessman, Board Member