While people who grew up in Forest Park are planning to get together to recall the glory days of the old Sequoia Swim Club, a current neighborhood resident has a vision for the future of the boarded property at 5520 Cherrywood Road.
Ryan Finke, who moved to the Northland neighborhood from Cincinnati almost two years ago, proposed turning the former neighborhood pool into a splash park in collaboration with the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department during the Forest Park Civic Associaciation's July 10 meeting.
Finke, communications director for International Friendships, a faith-based nonprofit organization, said last week that he grew up in a section of Cincinnati that had a neighborhood pool, just like the one that served residents of Forest Park from 1962 until 2012.
By the time he was ready to go to college, Finke said, officials were moving to close the pool. The neighborhood organized and lobbied for transforming the pool into a splash park.
"We needed a place for the community and for the children during the summer," he said.
Eventually, the neighbors won over the city.
"I got to see it happen, and I got to see the different demographics that a splash park pulled in as opposed to a pool," Finke said.
"I think it's a great idea," said Ken Gilbert, former Forest Park Civic Association president after Finke's presentation. "My main question is, would the city do it and is it affordable?"
Finke said civic association President Ed Vanasdale volunteered to contact the owners of the site to gauge interest in selling it.
Vanasdale was on vacation last week and not available for comment.
In checking with Recreation and Parks officials, Finke said he was told community support and the willingness of the owner to part with the property were crucial next steps.
"If those two things don't happen, the city couldn't help out," Finke said.
"If the city were donated the property in some way, shape or form, I think we could make a push," Gilbert said. "We need something for the kids in our area. We don't really have a lot of options for the summer."
Finke said he welcomed Vanasdale's offer to contact the owner of the property.
"I'm a young guy with little clout in the neighborhood," Finke said. "I sure hope it's done soon so we'll at least know if the property owner is willing to give it to the city or sell it."
Finke said he and his wife, Liz, have a 4-month-old son and they frequently push his stroller past the building that was the entrance to the pool.
"We thought wouldn't it be great if one day our kid could play there," he said.