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Posted on June 11, 2021 at 3:19 PM by Melissa Dalton
Although I did not grow up in Greene County, I was fortunate to live in a community that had a pool for the residents. It was my summer hangout, and some of my favorite memories are from my time at the pool. For over thirty years, Greene County Parks & Trails (formerly Recreation & Parks) ran two great pools in Greene County – Mullins Memorial Pool in Xenia and the Community Pool in Fairborn – and they both closed about ten years ago. As we are now into the summer months, we thought it would be nice to celebrate and reminisce on all the good memories of the Greene County pools.
When Ed Dressler became the Director of the Recreation and Parks department (now Parks & Trails) in the early 1970s, he was tasked with creating a master plan for the parks in Greene County. Part of his master plan was the establishment of community swimming pools (Fig 1). It was determined that two pools would be built – one in Xenia and one in Fairborn. The thought was that these two locations would provide the greatest access to Greene County residents, and each would have additional outdoor recreation facilities on-site.
Fig 1. Pool and Bathhouse Design completed by Thomas, Moll and Klose Architects (Greene County Archives)
In 1974, the county broke ground at the two locations and the sites had dedication ceremonies and grand openings the following year (Fig 2). The first year of operation, more than 80,000 people visited the pools from around the region. Each pool featured an Olympic size swimming pool, children’s pool, night lighting, large grass areas, paved parking, and programming. That year, the Recreation and Parks received an award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association for the pool projects (Fig 3).
Fig 2. Groundbreaking ceremonies for pools, Xenia Daily Gazette, 08 Jun 1974 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
Fig 3. County Cited, Xenia Daily Gazette, 25 Nov 1975 (Greene County Archives)
For the next thirty or so years, the pools operated under the Recreation and Parks department. Each year, programming was a key aspect of operation, providing water exercise, swim lessons, competitive swimming and diving, scuba diving, water ballet, teen splash parties and birthday parties, rentals, and other various special programming such as the doggie dash (Figs 4-11).
Fig 4. Competitive swimming event, 1977 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 5. Recreational swimming, 1978 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 6. Swim Lessons, 1981 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 7. Boys diving at Mullins Memorial Pool, 1986 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 8. Girls at teen night at pool, 1986 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 9. Fairborn Pool 20th Anniversary Celebration, 1995 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 10. Kid/teen event at pool, 2006 (Greene County Archives)
Fig 11. Doggie Dash at Mullins Memorial Pool, 2006 (Greene County Archives)
In 2009, the pools did not open for the season due to budget cuts in the county. The revenue from the pools did not cover the cost of operation, and it was determined that it would save the county roughly $100,000 to keep both facilities closed for the season. The following year, the county and city of Fairborn agreed that the Fairborn Community Pool should be demolished as it (and the Xenia pool) would likely remained closed indefinitely – a fate which was correct (Fig 12).
Fig 12. No Lifeguard on Duty, Xenia Gazette, 10 Feb 2009 (NewspaperARCHIVE.com)
While interviewing Ed Dressler in 2018, I asked him about what he viewed as some of his major projects/accomplishments. He claimed that the creation of the swimming pools was a highlight of his career. Ed believed the pools and recreation centers helped develop Xenia and Fairborn, especially the park systems, all while promoting community outreach and providing recreation and fun for the youth of our county. We think Ed was right – we can focus on all the good memories of these pools, and what they provided for the local community during their more than thirty years!
If you have any memories, please feel free to share! We’d love to hear them!
Until Next Time!
Images and plans from the Greene County Parks & Trails Photograph Collection, Greene County Archives
Newspaper articles from NewspaperARCHIVE.com
Ed Dressler Oral History, Greene County Archives
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