WILLIAMSTOWN -- A group trying to purchase a historic community gathering place is inching closer to its goal.
Local nonprofit organization Sand Springs Recreational Center (SSRC) hopes to purchase and reopen the Sand Springs thermal pool by the end of June. So far, the group has raised $505,000 to buy and operate the pool. The group must raise another $45,000 by a June 15 deadline to reach its goal of $550,000.
"I'm thrilled," SSRC Board President Janette Dudley said Thursday. "I'm really excited that it looks like it's coming to fruition."
One of the few thermal pools in the Northeast, the water at Sand Springs averages 72 degrees year-round. The Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built on the site in 1907. The George family purchased the property in 1950 and operated and eventually sold it to Wampanaug Springs Inc. in 2003. The facility was completely renovated under Wampanaug's ownership.
The property's current owners, Michael and Amy Patten, of Redstone Properties, placed the property on the market in 2008.
The SSRC's journey to purchasing the park has been a long one. Dudley, concerned about the facility closing forever, began having meetings with local residents on how to save it in 2011.
In March 2012, the organization signed a purchase and sales agreement with the Pattens, with the intent to reopen that summer. Since then, SSRC has negotiated a new deadline for the purchase and sales agreement.
The final four weeks will see a large push for the organization, Dudley said.
"We have a mailer that's going to hit mailboxes today, that's going to update everyone on where we are," she said. "We're also doing regular Facebook posts. ... We've updated our website so people can donate online and keep track of our progress."
Dudley said once the goal is reached, the organization is hoping for a very quick turnaround. The facility will be able to offer a pool, sauna, exercise room, basketball and horseshoes. Swimming lessons will be provided by Olympic gold-medalist and Williamstown resident Samantha Livingstone, Dudley said, and the organization hopes to renovate the community room.
"What I think people will notice is different is that we'll have more food offerings," Dudley said. "You'll be able to get a real lunch or real dinner at the pool. We also plan on making the food offerings healthy."
In addition, membership fees will be affordable, Dudley said. Membership rates will be available in June, she added.
Donations may be made online at www.sandspringspool.org.
Contributions can also be made by check to Sand Springs Recreational Center Inc., at P.O. Box 800, Williamstown, MA 01267.
For more information, email organizers at email@example.com.
To reach Edward Damon, email