City of Friend celebrates opening of $2.68M pool

Updated: May. 31, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Just in time for a summer with fewer restrictions, the City of Friend is debuting its new pool with a multi-million dollar price tag.

Friend’s new pool officially opened Monday afternoon, with a line wrapped around the block.

“Whether you’re eight or 80, there are smiles in Friend today,” said Bob Weber, who has lived in the town for 16 years.

It’s a project that was mainly pushed for by parents over the past three years after the city council started looking at what to do with the town’s old pool, built in the 1930s.

At one point in time, it even considered shutting the pool down for good. After a committee of neighbors was formed, the plan took shape and construction started on the new project last August.

“Coming in and out through the whole process - it’s nothing compared to seeing the kids all here,” said Jen Stutzman, a member of the Friend Pool Committee. “The excitement on opening day, it’s emotional. It’s been a long process.”

It’s going to be a nearly $3 million project when it’s all said and done; paid for by a bond approved by voters and a handful of donors.

“Our pool cost $2.68 million,” said Kristen Milton, the Friend Pool Committee Chair. “We took a bond of $2.5 million, and fundraised and applied for grants for the difference.”

For a town of 1,000 people, it was a huge undertaking with a big payoff.

“It’s definitely an upgrade for our old pool and I’m excited Friend did it,” said Hunter Svehla, who lives in Friend with his family.

The next step will be completing a parking lot and having a grand opening celebration later this summer when the city celebrates 150 years.

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