Charles Williams (right), owner of Williams Auction Co. LLC kicked off the "2017 Year of Giving Campaign" for the Fieldale Recreation Center & Pools by presenting a $1,000 check to Recreation Center volunteers Alex Alley (left) and Andrew Kahle (center.)
January 8, 1017, Martinsville Bulletin:
FIELDALE-Energized by a successful soft opening of the pools at the Fieldale Recreation Center last September, the volunteers who are bringing the center back to life have big plans for the future.
Last year, the non-profit Fieldale Heritage Festival Committee used about $60,000 in donations to re-open the pools, which included replacing the old pump equipment and plumbing with modern technology and painstakingly re-painting the pools in sweltering summer heat.
The pools re-opened on Labor Day weekend and also opened the two following weekends, according to volunteer Andrew Kahle, and the response was overwhelming.
“It was exactly what we wanted,” Kahle said. “It was a soft opening to let people see what the pools look like, because so many people had come by when they were still green and mucky. It was a good test of all the filter equipment and the new pumps. It was perfect. When we get to summer 2017, we’ll have a big grand opening and be ready for the whole summer.”
More than 100 people turned out the first day the pools were open, Kahle said, and everyone said the same thing: “We’re so happy to be back.”
In addition to the pools, the ball field behind the recreation center also saw plenty of use from the Lady Slammers Fastpitch Softball teams, which utilized the field extensively all summer, Kahle said.
Now that winter has arrived, he said, the committee is planning future improvements to the facility.
In the short-term, Kahle said, they would like to purchase an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant lift, so that anyone can get into one of the pools and have fun this coming summer. The lift likely will cost about $4,000, he said.
If the center can host tournaments on the ball field, Kahle said, it would be a great source of revenue to fund improvements to the center itself; however, the retaining wall behind the backstop must first be replaced so that people can safely sit in the bleachers. The cost of that project is unclear at this point, he said, but the committee plans to receive an estimate within the next few weeks.
The biggest project that the committee has in mind, however, underscores their commitment to keeping the Fieldale pools open for many, many years to come.
“In long-term plans, something we’d like to do is have both pools resurfaced, because we can get so much more life out of both pools if we do that,” Kahle said. “We’ll be getting some estimates from National Pools to do both at one time or one at a time and see what the price differences are, and we’ll move forward.”
Four years ago, he said, the ballpark estimate to resurface both pools at once was about $200,000. The resurfacing doesn’t need to be done immediately, he said, but once it has been done, it could extend the life of the pools by fifty or sixty years.
“We aren’t in this just for 2016 and 2017,” Kahle said. “We’re in this for the long term.”
The committee does not plan to solely use private donations to fund these improvements, however; Kahle said that he would like to see more concerts take place on the recreation center grounds, as those have proven to be hugely successful.
“We did two concerts, and they were such a huge success,” he said. “We want to use our grounds as a mini-festival site. When we did the concerts, the streets were full, the grounds were full, and people were happy. … We don’t have enough volunteers yet to do that on a monthly basis … but if we get more people involved, we could do that more frequently. And that’s a huge fundraiser. That funded a lot of the work at the pools.”
When Kahle was growing up in Fieldale in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he said, there were more young folks in town than there are today. However, he said, the first day that the pools re-opened, he saw about eight neighborhood kids walk to the pools, cutting between the ball field and the back of the recreation center, ready to take a dip.
“I think that was probably the nicest sight I saw that first day,” he said. “Kids that lived in town, walking from their homes to the pool. For me, it was special to see that.”
To donate to the Fieldale Recreation Center or inquire about volunteering, visit ilovefieldale.com or the Fieldale Recreation Center and Pools Facebook page. Checks made out to the Fieldale Recreation Center may also be mailed to Fieldale Heritage Festival Inc., PO Box 333, Fieldale, Va. 24089.
Doors open at 5 PM and the games start at 6 PM. Adults play for $20. Youth 18 and under play for $10. A dessert auction featuring an assortment of delicious treats, concessions and a 50/50 drawing will also take place.
Proceeds go to the Fieldale Recreaction Center’s ‘Open the Pools’ project.
Rangeley Ruritan Bldg, Calloway Dr, Fieldale, Va 24089
Fieldale is having its first Village Street Dance June the 18th. The event is being held to raise money to reopen the Fieldale swimming pools.
Long time local band The Rogues has been making music in the area since the 1960’s. Their set list includes favorite hits from the sixties and seventies including songs by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Sam and Dave, The Righteous Brothers, The Four Tops, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis and many others. Those that have been to a Rogues concert will understand, it makes you want to stand up and shout, clap your hands, kick up your heels and party.
The Pools were closed in April 2014. The Fieldale Heritage Corporation bought them in 2015 with the intention of restoring first the pools and then the Recreation Center. Over $60,000 has already been raised thanks to the love and generosity of a lot of fans. We’re about 2/3 of the way with our fund raising. The pool house reconstruction is well on the way and new pumps have already been ordered. We expect to be swimming this summer.
The admission to the concert is free. Of course, we hope you will decide to make a donation. We are raffling off a brand new dishwasher and having a 50/50 drawing. We’re already selling tickets for both. The 50/50 drawing should be a nice pot to split.
There will be music, food and beverages; including a beer garden and barbequed chicken and pork. Bring your lawn chairs or blanket; make yourself comfortable and join in the celebration.
Something good is happening in Fieldale! Join us June 18th at 6 PM and become a part of it.
Lee Clark and Mary Ann Mason came to the Fieldale Heritage Festival board meeting in February. They spoke about the Smith River Corridor grant project and how it will affect Fieldale and the Recreation Center. They stressed that they will be talking with the owners of the properties affected.
A poster showing the affected areas and before and after details of facade improvements.
Before and After
57-59 Marshall Way
Before and After
63-65 Marshall Way and
67 Marshall Way
By BEN R. WILLIAMS Martinsville Bulletin Staff Writer
With a solid plan in place — and some help from the community – the pools at the Fieldale Community Center could re-open this summer, according to Andrew Kahle.
Kahle has worked closely with the Fieldale Heritage Festival Committee to devise a plan to re-open the center, which is now called the Fieldale Recreation Center and Pools. In October, the Henry County Board of Supervisors transferred ownership of the property to the non-profit organization.
Since that transfer of ownership, Kahle said, the board has worked tirelessly to raise funds for the center, joining forces with Woodmen of the World to create a fundraising page on its crowd-sourced funding website Red Basket.
Dear Members of Fieldale Heritage Inc. and the Fieldale Recreation Center and Pools Organization:
As this year draws to a close, I am deeply indebted to each of you for the wonderful support you have given to our Fieldale Heritage Inc. group and for the many ways you continue to contribute. We have undertaken a tremendous project, but I know that if we continue to work together, wonderful things can be accomplished. I appreciate each and everyone committed to this project of restoration for the former center and pools.
At this season, I wish you and your family all the happy things this special holiday brings. May the magic and wonder of Christmas bless your home and bring you peace in the new year!
Home of the Fieldale Heritage Festival, Recreation Center and Pools