Albion College swimmers took to the water in an inaugural swim at Reiger Park’s newly renovated swimming and ice-skating pond.
The ribbon cutting ceremony for the Reiger Park pond took place Nov. 10. Pond renovations completed in September offer a safe place for children to swim in the summer and ice-skate in winter months. The project, which cost just under $200,000, was funded by state grant money and via donations from 11 local funders.
“About 10 years ago a child drowned in the Kalamazoo River,” said Tamara Crupi, chairperson of the Albion River Development Committee. “We wanted to renovate the pond so children had a safe place to swim and cool off during the summer.”
The city of Albion was awarded a $127,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources in July, said Mike Herman, Albion city manager. The city of Albion did not make any monetary contributions—local groups funded the difference, Herman said.
Renovations include draining water and removing silt from the pond. The silt buildup caused the water to be too warm to freeze, said Elizabeth Schultheiss, executive director of the Albion Community Foundation. The pond had not been used for ice-skating in at least 10 years.
After the mud was removed, sand was added so that the pond would be more suitable for swimming, Crupi said.
Other changes include making the entranceway to the Reiger park pond handicapped accessible and adding a sandy beach. The warming house located near the pond was made handicapped accessible as well, and changing rooms were also added.
“One of the groups that really helped was the Albion River Development Committee…they really helped (to) bring the attention of the project to the community,” Schultheiss said.
The pond is spring fed and flows into the Kalamazoo River. Mechanical upgrades were also added to control water flow into the pond.
“Renovations to the pond helps restore the community heritage and brings back ice-skating to the community,” Schultheiss said.
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Schultheiss, executive director of Albion Community Foundation.