Friends research interest and raise funds for private pool club

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Regional - posted Mon., Feb. 24, 2014
- Contributed Photo

They know it may be a long shot, but friends Kristyn Neal and Laura McLaughlin are doing some research and reaching out to residents in the combined communities of Marlborough, East Hampton, Hebron and Colchester to gauge interest in a possible private swimming pool club.

With the closing of the Easter Seals Camp Hemlocks in Hebron last November, and loss of their indoor therapeutic pool, Neal said she doesn’t believe there is any private pool club in the area for residents to enjoy.

“We have plenty of lakes in the area, but no pools. I don’t think those towns have anything nearby. It’s my understanding that the closest YMCA is in Middletown,” said Neal, who resides in East Hartford, but who has several family members in East Hampton. Neal would like her family and friends to be able to have access in their area to a swimming pool, as would McLaughlin, who works as a swim coach at a YMCA.

Neal said she and McLaughlin envision a pool that could be used for swimming lessons, programs for seniors and for co-op school swim teams with the involved towns. “If we were really lucky, [the venue] might also include rooms for rentals for birthday parties, where kids could then also have use of the pool,” she said.

Neal would like to get the word out to residents in the four towns to see if there is an interest in both usage and fundraising toward the goal of having an indoor/outdoor pool that could be used by various individuals and groups year round. She said the cost to hire a marketing research company to conduct the research they would need to make informed decisions about if there is interest in the towns indicated, and how and if they should move forward, would cost in the neighborhood of $6,000. “[The $6,000] doesn’t relate to the pool or [a potential] building, only the research,” she said. “It’s not a huge sum,” Neal added, but at that price, it is something the two would not be able to do on their own.

To that end, Neal has enlisted the aid of “Go Fund Me,” a do-it-yourself fundraising website that enables individuals and groups to raise monies online for any purpose. In setting up the site, Neal said she selected an all-or-nothing type option where the total fund goal - $6,500 in their case - must be promised in 60 days or nothing is collected at all. In this way, there is no commitment on donors’ parts unless they can be assured the entire amount can be raised.

“It’s been up just about a week now, and there haven’t been any responses yet, but we hope we just need to get the word out and generate some interest,” said Neal. To show support for the proposal and make a pledge toward the fundraising goal, visit

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