Officials and citizens gathered in Woodland Park Tuesday for the Municipal Pool Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Officials and citizens gathered in Woodland Park Tuesday for the Municipal Pool Groundbreaking Ceremony.

Head of the pool committee John Ayers, President of the Avedis Foundation Michelle Briggs, Pottawatomie County Commissioner Randy Thomas and Mayor Wes Mainord spoke at the ground breaking.

“Our total budget we’re working with is about $4.2 million,” Ayers said.

He explained that the city put in $3 million and the committee raised $1.2 million.

“Other contributors to this project include the Sarkeys foundation of $150,000, the CPN for $100,000, Pottawatomie County contributed $50,000, and then we had over 150 businesses, small and large and individual donations,” Ayers said.

The largest contribution came from the Avedis Foundation, which totaled $616,600.

“Avedis stands for bearer of glad tidings or good news and that’s what we strive to be in Pottawatomie County,” Briggs said. “We operate as a private foundation granting funds within our vision and mission.”

Briggs said their mission is to improve the health, wellness and quality of life for the citizens of Pottawatomie County.

“We are proud of the work we are doing, but we’re even more proud of the people we are working with,” Briggs said.

Thomas recalled his and his friend’s mothers buying passes to Westwood swimming pool in Norman every summer when he was younger.

“We’d walk two and a half miles to the pool every day, one of the mothers would pick us up in the afternoons, and at the end of the summer we’d all have green hair from the chlorine,” he said.

18 years later, he was taking his daughter to the same pool.

“I’m excited about this,” Thomas said. “We have a place for our children, our community and our families to gather.”

Mainord thanked the community for its support in the project. He also gave credit to previous mayor, Linda Peterson, and the previous city commissioners for beginning the process for the pool.

Mainord recalled the initial conversation he had with Terry West, asking if West wanted to be on the pool committee.

“I visited him in his office,” Mainord said, “and he said, ‘You know, Wes. I sit in this high dollar chair, behind this real nice desk in this air conditioning, and I’ve watched for years kids walk by going to the pool.

“They’re carrying a towel that I probably wouldn’t use in my rag bag in my garage.’ He said, ‘We have to do something for these children in this city so that they can have a lot of great activities during the summer.’”

City Director of Operations James Bryce said he encourages everyone in the community, not just children, to come to the pool.

“There is something in this pool for everybody,” he said.

The pool is set to open summer 2015.