WILLIAMSTOWN -- A local non-profit is inching closer to purchasing the historic Sand Springs Pool, which has been for sale since 2008.
Sand Springs Recreational Center (SSRC) President Janette Dudley said the group has raised $370,000 with the help of many local donors, including a donation from Williams College, but it still needs to raise an additional $205,000 by March 1, 2013.
An $80,000 "challenge grant" was announced earlier this month. Every dollar donated to the effort by March 1, 2013 will be matched by Josiah and Penelope Low, the Alice Shaver Foundation, and an anonymous donor.
Dudley said she first heard of Sand Springs after moving to town in 1998. It was a hot summer, she said, and she began visiting the spot with her children.
"We fell in love with it," Dudley said. "It became an important part of our summer experience."
One of the only thermal spas in the Northeast, the water at Sand Springs bubbles to the surface at an average temperature of 72 degrees year-round. The Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built on the site in 1907. The property was updated and renovated and after being sold to Wampanaug Springs, Inc. in 2003, before it was put up for sale.
Dudley, concerned about the property's future, began hosting organizational meetings with local families in 2011. The grassroots committee evolved into the current organization that has non-profit status.
"We realized that if we wanted this institution to continue, we'd have to take this on ourselves," she said.
The group signed an option to purchase the property in March 2012. A capital campaign that began this summer brought many donations to the group. Donations have included lead gifts from Josiah and Penelope Low, an anonymous donor, the Alice Shaver Foundation and Williams College. SSRC's vision is to transform the property from a pool and spa into a sustainable community gathering place with low membership fees. The Samuelson Swim Academy, founded in memory of a longtime Williams College swim coach Carl Samuelson, would offer group, semi-private and private lessons to children and adults. The group also wants to offer scholarships to the Samuelson Swim Academy for local children. In addition, Sand Springs would have an expanded variety of food, including soups, salads, ice cream and smoothies.
Dudley said she is very optimistic the group will reach their campaign goal and open in June 2013.
She said anyone interested in supporting their effort can donate online at www.sandspringspool.org. Contributions can be made by check to Sand Springs Recreational Center, Inc. at P.O. Box 800, Williamstown, MA, 01267. All contributions are fully tax-deductible.
"If we aren't successful, this institution might disappear," Dudley said. "We really need the community to come out and support this."
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