The IT announcement last month that the land was inaugurated for Sonoma Valley’s new high school swimming pool included a quote from District Superintendent Dr. Adrian Palazuelos: “This will be the Jewel of the Valley.”
I know at least one person who would have agreed with Dr Palazuelos – my father, Robert Lynch, editor of the Index-Tribune from 1949 until his death in 2003.
He was also the newspaper’s editor for most of those 54 years, including the mid-century decade, when he led the community-wide effort to build a swimming pool in our sole. high school.
Dad loved to swim. He was a competitive swimmer in high school and firmly believed that a community like ours without its own pool was unthinkable.
So in 1956 he wrote the first of many editorials proposing a fundraising effort to build a community swimming pool. In 1960, after four years of editorials, reflections chronicles and arm twists, a Sonoma Community Pool Project Committee was formed. Sonoma Valley High School athletic director and longtime football coach Clarence A. Edsall has been appointed chairman of the underwriting committee. The goal was to raise $ 50,000 to build the school swimming pool.
Papa enlisted the support of all the service organizations in the valley. Early supporters included the Kiwanis Club, the Sonoma Valley Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Rotary Club and the local chapter of the Red Cross.
It took almost 11 years from dad’s initial proposal, but thanks to broad community support and many small individual donations, the campaign was a success.
The pool opened in 1967 by the high school and by the entire community on weekends and during the summer. He has served high school students, swim clubs and the community for nearly four decades.
In 2000, however, the school district had many financial problems and the maintenance of the 33-year-old pool was becoming expensive. Without warning the community, he was bulldozed in the summer of 2005 over a weekend with no one watching. The Sonomans lost their only public swimming pool, the one they had donated money to build it for.
Perhaps this is a sign of the times that it took over 15 years to replace it. But the people of Sonoma voted several years ago for a tie that included the return of their community pool.
My father would be proud if people living today in the community he has loved and served for over half a century still believe in the importance and value of what he and many citizens of Sonoma Valley struggled to create in the 1960s.
It will be there in spirit when the first toe enters the water of the 21st century vision of a community swimming pool.