MEDINA — The Medina Junior Chamber of Commerce’s first service project was building Memorial Park Pool in 1955 for $40,000.
That’s one of the reasons former Jaycees say the pool remains such an important of their lives.
Friends of Medina Memorial Park & Pool donated a monument Thursday that honored the former Jaycees.
Only two of the men who worked on the project, Bob Hyde and Robert Riegger, are still living. Both were at the ceremony attended by about 75 people in front of the pool and hosted by Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.
Murray Van Epp, an event donor, said he grew up about two blocks from the pool.
“It was the social center for my life,” he said. “I couldn’t have been more thankful growing up in this town during that time (around 1960).”
He has several memories of the pool, including having major crushes on many of the lifeguards that he could still name today — 58 years later.
He said he wasn’t thrilled when he heard the city was going to refurbish the pool at a cost that ran north of $800,000.
“However, it exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Van Epp said.
Roger Smalley, director of the city’s bicentennial committee, said he took Red Cross swimming lessons at Memorial Park Pool when he was 8 years old.
“This was part of our history,” he said. “The pool meant so much to so many of us.”
Hyde said the Jaycees were organized in 1953 or ’54 and lasted until 2002. The service organization ceased to exist due to lack of interest.
“We turned the shovel in 1954,” he said. “(The pool) opened for two weeks in August 1955. It opened up for good on Memorial Day in 1956. Bob Salisbury was the first pool manager.”
Max Kennedy, past president, said the organization raised a lot of money through the years for charitable causes.
“We sold Christmas trees,” he said. “We raised funds for the expansion at Medina Hospital.”
Kennedy said he didn’t recognize some of the faces in the crowd. He said that happens when you don’t see some of them for 45 years.
Debra Hallock, daughter of the late Macy Hallock, is the founder and president of Friends of Memorial Park & Pool.
“My dad loved Medina,” she said. “He loved building things for kids. I’m so happy to see all the former Jaycees.”
Ty Brooke, who traveled from Virginia with his wife, Liz, for the event, was another former president in attendance.
“We were really active in the community,” he said, noting the Jaycees also built a skating rink on East Homestead Street.