Pool marks 50th year

Per­sim­mon Creek Swim Club cel­e­brates with party

Newark Post - - Front Page - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

With the new Ar­bour Park neigh­bor­hood less than half­way com­pleted, a group of res­i­dents de­cided they needed to start plan­ning for a com­mu­nity pool. The group sold bonds to raise the nec­es­sary money, and the Per­sim­mon Creek Swim Club opened July 15, 1967.

“It started as a com­mu­nity ef­fort,” Chuck Maass, who led the plan­ning com­mit­tee, re­called last week. “Peo­ple banded to­gether.”

That com­mu­nity spirit has stood the test of time, and on Satur­day, the swim club held a party to cel­e­brate its 50th an­niver­sary.

Nes­tled away in a woodsy cor­ner of Ar­bour Park and ac­cessed via a wind­ing, tree-lined path, Per­sim­mon Creek Swim Club has served as an oa­sis of sorts for mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions of Newark fam­i­lies.

Rich Sig­mund’s fam­ily joined the swim club the year af­ter it opened, and he has fond mem­o­ries of child­hood sum­mers spent at the pool.

“It was just the high­light of the whole sum­mer,” he said. “Every­one wanted to be the first one in the pool on Memo­rial Day Week­end. It was a to­tal fam­ily at­mos­phere.”

Sig­mund still lives in Ar­bour Park and, to­day, his kids spend their sum­mers the same way he did.

“They en­joy it im­mensely. It’s the high­light of their year,” he said. “They can go other places or do other things, but they like the ca­ma­raderie the pool of­fers.”

Chris Lakof­sky, who lives in nearby Acad­emy Hill, signed his fam­ily up for the swim club about six years ago, and his kids quickly found their place on the swim team.

“Ev­ery­body was very invit­ing and so­cia­ble and sup­port­ing,” he said. “It’s a unique place in Newark.”

Per­sim­mon Creek Swim Club – named for the stream that flows near the pool – opened at a time when build­ing com­mu­nity pools was com­mon in the area. Sev­eral other neigh­bor­hoods in Newark, such as Oak­lands, Not­ting­ham Green and Fair­field, opened pools around the same time.

Though some other pools have seen a de­crease in mem­ber­ship, board pres­i­dent An­thony Fa­rina said in­ter­est in Per­sim­mon Creek has picked up in re­cent years. The club has ap­prox­i­mately 210 mem­bers, near its ca­pac­ity.

“It’s hip to be part of a com­mu­nity pool,” Fa­rina said. “Peo­ple want to be part of some­thing larger than their fam­ily. It’s a great place to build friend­ships.”

He noted that while many mem­bers are from Ar­bour Park and sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods, the club draws from as far away as Middletown and Pennsylvania.

The club also has a suc­cess­ful swim team, the Pi­ran­has, which has about 130 kids on its ros­ter.

Fa­rina’s daugh­ter, Nicole, serves as pool man­ager and head coach of the swim team. She called get­ting to work at the pool where she spent her sum­mers grow­ing up a “child­hood dream.”

She added that she started tak­ing swim­ming lessons at the pool when she was 5 and later joined the swim team.

“I made so many friends right away,” Nicole Fa­rina, now 21, said. “We’d walk to prac­tice to­gether and spend our days at the pool. I’ve spent ev­ery sum­mer here since I was 5, and I’ve loved ev­ery sec­ond of it.”

Jake Tim­mins, 12, echoed those thoughts.

“I don’t live in a neigh­bor­hood, so this is where I can play with friends,” he said. “My fa­vorite part of sum­mer is the pool.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the pool, visit pc­swim­club.com. Trial mem­ber­ships are avail­able on a pro-rated ba­sis.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Mem­bers of Per­sim­mon Creek Swim Club cel­e­brate the pool’s 50th an­niver­sary on Satur­day.

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