From contributions to challenges: Every bit helps near swimming pool goal

Posted March 12, 2020 at 7:26 pm

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By Julie Ann Madden

Where there is a will, there is a way.

And that is so true for the Akron community.

Their will is to have a new swimming pool dubbed the Akron Family Aquatic Center as soon as they can — because City Administrator Dan Rolfes and Water/Wastewater Superintendent Matt Combs dread opening the current 1950s-built swimming pool.

They have no idea what will go wrong each day but they know there will be something. Last fall they closed the pool a few days early because a pump failed.

It was one too many battles for the season, and the pool won. One of the biggest issues is the leaky pool was losing 25,000 to 30,000 gallons of water daily — double the amount of water it lost daily in 2018. It’s a continuous, daily process of adding more water and chemicals to make the water safe for swimming.

The expenses just keep escalating as city officials battle with the pool’s problems.

“The pool has outlived its useful life,” said Rolfes. “We’re just putting band-aids on it every year, trying to keep it open.”

“Eventually there’s going to be a year that comes along where something’s going to happen,” he said, “and it’s just going to have to be closed.”

“It won’t be feasible to fix the problem to open it another year,” said Rolfes, “and with the water usage that could happen sooner than later.”

There have been many fundraising ideas from selling Westerner kids’ bracelets, hosting lemonade stands and holding students’ penny wars to setting aside city Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds, applying for grants, hosting Dueling Piano fundraisers, and conducting a Capital Campaign.

There are people of every age involved in raising funds for this Akron Family Aquatic Center Project.

Cop Drummer Challenge

The latest fundraiser is being conducted by Akron Police Chief William Young and is called “Cop Drummer Challenge.”

Many may not know that the chief is an accomplished drummer and he believes in having fun as he serves and protects Akron citizens.

In 1974, Young received his first toy drum set when he was eight-years-old — the best Christmas gift ever.

“The drum heads were made of paper,” said Young, “and I beat the heck out of it. Before that, I beat on pots and pans.”

Although Young didn’t play in school bands, he briefly was in a band when he was in the U.S. Army. Other than a few lessons, Young has taught himself how to play the drums.

“My drum kit started off much smaller,” laughed Young, noting he likes a lot of drums and cymbals in his drum set.

“I thought what if people made a donation and challenged me to play my drums part…I’d at least try to attempt it and we’d make some money for the pool.”

So far, he’s been challenged to play the 1968 “In A Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly, the Ventures’ 1963 hit, “Wipe Out,” and “Into the Unknown” by Panic! At The Disco band which was featured in the Frozen 2 movie.

To participate in this fundraising challenge, people can stop at Akron City Hall, located at 220 Reed St., and make a monetary donation. Then fill out a piece of paper challenging Young to perform a song of your choice.

Another way people can challenge Young is to donate through “Akron, Iowa” at the www.GoFundMe.com. Then text Young at 712-552-7016 with what song you’re challenging him to play on the drums.

Young has computer software which removes the drum track from any song and allows him to record his own drum performance with the music. Young will record the song and upload it to the Akron, IA Police Department’s YouTube channel, Cop Drummer.

“I promise you will hear the music, too, not just me banging on the drums,” wrote Young about his challenge. “You’ll get to hear the whole song.”

“I’ll play anything you want — from Sinatra to Skynyrd, from Barry Manilow to AC/DC and everything in-between,” he explained. “Keep it clean, however, This is a family show. I’m not going to do any profanity-laden gangster rap.”

Young admits he’s a huge fan of the Rush band. In fact, he has their logo on his drum set.

“I will absolutely attempt anything,” said Young, admitting it may take him a few weeks of practicing before you hear it on YouTube’s Cop Drummer.

If listening to drums drumming isn’t your thing, there are also other fundraisers planned.

Dueling Pianos

On Friday, March 20, city officials are hosting the fourth annual Dueling Pianos Show as a pool fundraiser.

The fun evening begins at 6 p.m. at the Akron Golf Course.

Dueling Pianos is two singing piano players who lead the audience in a good time by playing popular songs from all genres that they might not expect to hear on a piano.

The selections and their delivery of the songs motivate the audience to sing and laugh throughout the show.

Audiences request songs, and if they fit the fun format, the players will get them played: “Friends In Low Places,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Old Town Road”…this isn’t a classical music concert!

Get ready to have some drinks and have some fun at the Fun Pianos show in Akron!

Make reservations by calling Akron City Hall at 712-568-2041 to not only enjoy this night of entertainment but help make the Akron Family Aquatic Center a reality.

Buy A Brick

Show your support for the Akron Family Aquatic Center by purchasing an engraved brick.

The plan is to place these engraved bricks inside the bathhouse hallway, where they will be protected from the weather and be a long-lasting tribute to the Akron community.

For a minimum donation of $250, people can get an engraved brick. Contact City Hall for details.

Silly String

Toward the end of the school year, city officials are teaming up with Akron-Westfield DK-6 students and staff to “string up” some people with Silly String.

Community members, parents and students can make a donation for Akron-Westfield Grades DK-6 students to get a can or two of Silly String and spray a few locals to their heart’s desire. All proceeds go to the pool fund.

Fundraising Ideas

Call Kourtney Nicholson with any fundraising ideas.

Every idea is considered, said Nicholson, laughing about one they thought was an absurd idea but actually turned out as a fun evening and raised several hundred dollars for the aquatic center. The idea was an axe throwing contest.

“We really do look into every idea we get,” said Nicholson. “Just call me at 712-568-2041 or stop and see me at City Hall.”

City officials want to raise $1.5 million, then fund the rest through grants and/or possibly a USDA loan.

To date, they have $890,000 committed.

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