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Northland pool welcomes Clintonville

Northland Swim Club's open house will target members of Olympic pool

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RYAN M. L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
Kaleb Heidenescher, 10, of Columbus, is silhouetted against a summer sky as he leaps from the high dive at the Northland Swim Club on Thursday, Aug. 7.
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Missy Conely has worked at the Northland Swim Club for 40 years, the past 10 as pool manager.

Her father was the assistant manager before that.

"I love the pool, so I've been really excited that we're still here," Conely said last week. "We're going to be celebrating our 50th anniversary next year, so I'm excited to be part of that."

She'd be delighted to share that excitement with current members of the Olympic Swim Club, who will lose their Clintonville pool at the end of the season. The 2.34-acre property on Indianola Avenue, a pool complex since it was built in 1938, will be redeveloped as apartments.

"I really feel for people from the Olympic," Conely said. "I would hate for our pool to close like that. We'd welcome not only the people from there but anywhere to come check us out."

"We do feel bad that they're losing their pool in Clintonville because we know how we'd feel if we lost ours," Northland Swim Club board member Lori Edsinger said.

After some initial reluctance, board members from the Northland Swim Club, 5006 Almont Drive off Morse Road -- about three miles from Olympic Swim Club -- have been reaching out to members of the facility that's scheduled to close.

"At first, we were a little hesitant because we knew it was a sensitive subject," said Edsinger, who joined the Northland Swim Club with her husband, Roger, in 1985.

"The more the word started getting out, we really realized that there is an interest from Olympic people," she said. "We've had quite a few families come to check it out already, and they fell in love with and said, 'It's really nice and we're going to tell our friends.' "

Conely estimated seven or eight families from the Olympic Swim Club have joined the Northland Swim Club so far.

A special open house for Olympic Swim Club members is set from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 17. Anyone showing an active Olympic membership card will be admitted free and invited to "discover our large landscaped lawn, enjoy swimming, basketball, tetherball and learn more about our 2015 50th anniversary season membership options, the Tigersharks Swim Team and special events," according to the announcement.

Membership rates for the community-owned Northland Swim Club, which has an Olympic-size swimming pool, are available at northlandswimclub.com.

When originally conceived and built in the mid-1960s, the Northland Swim Club had roughly three times the number of members it has now, said Karmel-Woodward Park Civic Association President William Logan, an ardent booster of the pool in his neighborhood.

"We certainly have capacity to accept the Olympic families, and quite frankly, more, up here," Logan said. "We have both the facilities and the acreage to do that. It's still really close to the Clintonville area with easy access to it.

"As far as its setting goes, we've always touted the residential nature of the pool: a lot of grass, a lot of trees in the middle of a residential area. It's certainly a change of pace most likely to what the folks who attended the Olympic facility have had over time."

Four years ago, the future of the Northland Swim Club looked dim when a major equipment breakdown threatened to break the bank of the community organization that runs it.

"It is a business," Logan noted. "It requires funding ... but a number of the members and folks in the neighborhood stepped up to contribute and volunteer time to secure the economic viability of the pool."

The Northland Swim Club operates in the black now, he said, although not by much.

"With increased membership, that would give us the opportunity to continue to improve the facilities," Logan said. "We've wanted for years and years to replace the concession stand and budgetary restrictions have prevented that.

"With increased funds, there will be increased facilities to support those needs."

Logan added that talks are underway among club directors about once again obtaining nonprofit status for the facility.

"To me, it's the best-kept secret in the North End, and it truly is a secret," Edsinger said. "We are baffled so many people don't know it's there. We've been trying everything to get the word out."

"I've heard so many times that people can't find us or didn't know we existed," Conely said.

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