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Friends smile at another successful pool season

Still dream of bigger things, including kiddie pool, ice rink

June 26, 2012

The Friends of Hales Corners Park and Pool are making a splash when it comes to keeping the community active for the summer, especially at the pool.

Hales Corners pool has had an average of 352 customers per day since it opened for the summer on June 16.

The pool is in its 44th year of operation, and its 10th with the support of the Friends. Today, the pool is run as a cooperative effort among the Friends, village of Hales Corners and Milwaukee County.

Don Schwartz, Friends president, said the community has been supportive of the group's initiatives on behalf of the pool over the years. Several notable donations have been made, that help keep the pool a good place to cool off on a hot day.

"We've also done a lot of events in the past to raise money," Schwartz said, adding that the latest fundraiser is in partnership with the new McDonald's in Hales Corners.

The restaurant, 6000 S. 108th St., will donate 20 percent of its proceeds made from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday to the Friends.

The donation will go toward the multiple projects being undertaken by the Friends to benefit the community.

Getting a kiddie pool back

And the group's projects are often substantial.

Right now, for instance, Friends members are trying to raise money to re-open the wading pool, which was closed for the 2011 season and remains so now.

There had been hopes that the kiddie pool would be open this year, but Milwaukee County was not able to devote money to the effort.

"Milwaukee County had about $150,000 in unexpected expenses, so the kiddie pool is not opening as soon as we wanted," Schwartz said. "It is a major disappointment."

But hope isn't lost.

"So far we have a plumber who is willing to do the work on the kiddie pool," Schwartz said. "We are still in need of someone with a Bobcat and a drill to help us get the kiddie pool up and running."

If wading pool is not ready for use at all this summer, Schwartz said, it will be completed by next summer.

Some Friends' efforts are a little less spectacular, but are nonetheless essential to keep the pool running. For instance, the group hopes to get a new pool liner and to re-roof the poolhouse in the next few years.

"These projects benefit everybody, because they are all about the community," Schwartz said. "The parks are a great place to be with your friends, family and community. Not to mention they are affordable, close, safe and fun."

Ice rink planned

With a substantial backing from residents behind them, the Friends in the not-too-distant past decided to expand the group's mission to include supporting the park as well.

"It just made sense to expand our mission, and the development of the veterans memorial and this ice rink proved that," Schwartz said, referring to an ice rink now in the works. It is being built in honor of Alyson Dudek, a 2010 Winter Olympics bronze medalist from Hales Corners.

"We thought it would be a neat way to acknowledge her big achievement," Schwartz said. "We have been in the process of raising money, and the plan has been developing quickly."

The 110-by-210-foot outdoor rink will include an open-aired pavilion that people can use as a warming shelter in winter and a picnic spot the rest of the year.

The Friends plan to have the ice rink open this winter.

Take a dip

WHERE: pool in Hales Corners County Park, located on New Berlin Road, just west of 116th Street

WHEN: 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through Aug. 19

COST: $1 for children up to age 11, $2 others; season pass available for $20

Get involved

To join the Friends or make a donation, email Don Schwartz atdschwartz6@wi.rr.com.

Dine at McDonald's, 6000 S. 108th St., between 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday; the restaurant will donate 20 percent of proceeds to the Friends.

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