Wayne White/Herald-Chronicle
Nearly 300 Carbondale citizens enjoyed Carbondale’s new swimming pool Saturday during the facility’s grand opening celebration.

Almost as many people who voted for a sales tax to pay for a new swimming pool showed up Saturday for its grand opening.

According to Carbondale City Clerk Sandy Schiffelbein, approximately 282 people attended an opening celebration May 29 that offered free lunch and free admission to all Carbondale citizens. As temperatures hovered in the 80s, the gates opened at 1 p.m., and people filed in to the pool’s edge awaiting Carbondale Mayor Ruth Towne’s signal. Towne blew a lifeguard’s whistle, officially opening the pool and a summer of fun for Carbondale citizens.

In a November 2008 election, 287 voters approved a one-cent sales tax to fund the construction of the swimming pool; 267 voters opposed the tax. With the tax in effect as of April 2009, the city established a public building commission to authorize the issuance of revenue bonds not to exceed $985,000. The bonds will be paid over a period of 20 years.

Bids were opened for the project in October of last year, with the winning bid of $867,800 awarded to Continental Pools, of Gardner.

The new pool features a large and a small water slide, one specifically for toddlers; a walk-in entry with splash fountains; and “tumble buckets” that dump water on swimmers below. A concrete peninsula divides the shallow part of the pool from deeper water. A deep-water diving area with a diving board is roped off from the rest of the pool. In addition to constructing the new pool, renovations were made to the existing bathhouse.

As part of the celebration, drawings were held for chances to be the official first person to go down the slides. Clason Rosine won the first slide on the toddler slide; Phillip Rivas was first to go down the larger slide.

Admission fees for the pool are $3 per person per visit; $65 for single season pass; or $165 for a family season pass for up to six family members.