Tuesday, June 30, 2015

End of an Era

Photo Credit: R. LeVon
Last Tuesday, when we reached the magic mile marker #2 on the Mirror Lake Highway where cell service begins, my phone began beeping frantically as 23 text messages came through.  Who was sending me 23 text messages?  It turned out to be a group discussion, complete with photos, of the tear down of the venerable Cabana Club swimming pool.

The Valley West Cabana Club was built in the early 60’s when the Valley West subdivision was built.  According to neighbors who have lived in our neighborhood since it was built, it was turned over to the neighborhood.  It was run like a business through a volunteer board of directors.  The pool charged a membership fee which allowed members use of the pool during open hours.  Members could also rent the pool after hours for private parties.  The only paid employees were the lifeguards, who also taught swimming lessons.  Volunteers staffed the snack bar, which sold soda, candy and Popsicles.

We discovered the Cabana Club in 1994 when we moved into the neighborhood.  We joined the pool soon after we moved in.  We spent many an evening at “Family Swim,” and got to know many of our new neighbors.  This was a real plus for us, as we do not belong to the predominant religion in Utah and didn’t attend the church directly across the street.  We met the couple who would become dearest friends at the Cabana Club.

The next year we were involved in management.  I developed a membership database; Paul kept the books.  Being on the Board meant we got a free private party, which over the years we used for the kids’ soccer teams and church parties.  Both our kids worked there as lifeguards; our daughter managed the pool for two years.

But all good things must come to an end.  Like Little Jackie Paper, our neighborhood grew up.  As the children moved out, couples (including us) didn’t renew their memberships.  The Board tried to supplement membership income with single day passes, but that didn’t cover the increased expenses.  State laws forced us to have paid lifeguards all open hours.  Insurance costs made it prohibitive to keep the slide.  New health department regulations forced the closure of the kiddie pool.  Three years ago the Board threw in the towel.  The neighborhood just couldn’t keep it going.

The neighborhood Council did, however, convince the City of Taylorsville to take over the land and build a pocket park.  On Monday, June 22, the backhoes came in.  The building was demolished, the pool dug up and the hole filled in.  The mature trees surrounding the pool – you know, the ones with the leaves that kept falling into the water – are all that remain of the once proud neighborhood institution.

With the exception of the fond memories of a grateful neighborhood.

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