Pool marks 50th year
Persimmon Creek Swim Club celebrates with party
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.
Members of Persimmon Creek Swim Club celebrate the pool’s 50th anniversary on Saturday.