A Brief History of the Barranca Mesa Pool

Original member

“We’ve come to the end of another swimming season without a neighborhood pool here on Barranca Mesa” was the opening statement of Doug Lier’s memo to “Dear Barranca Mesa Dweller” Sept. 28, 1968. By that time a few daring souls had formed a committee that “had explored every aspect of the project: Land acquisition, design and cost estimates, possible contractors and contingencies.” The value of the land had been appraised and the Planning Commission had tentatively approved the property.

The pool committee had estimated a cost of $151,000 for land acquisition, pool and bath house construction, and parking and landscaping. They assumed that 2/3 of the present 450 Barranca Mesa homeowners would participate so that the cost of membership would be approximately $500. If fewer people signed up, the association would carry a mortgage. It appears that the project was launched with close to 150 members who made the financial commitment.

Attorney Harold Moore made a recommendation to the board that “the land be leased rather than bought.” He also suggested “that Tract 14 is too large for only an elementary school site; but the combination with the adjacent park land produces a desirable school-park complex. Allocation of a half acre out of this complex for a swimming pool would actually enhance the utilization site for the present and the future.”

The first annual meeting of the Barranca Mesa Pool Association was called to order by president Doug Lier Dec. 2, 1968. Forty member families attended representing 114 memberships sold as of that date. The By-laws and Rules and Regulations were approved and board members were elected. The first BMPA Board was composed of Doug Lier,  Rita Montgomery, Joan Upham, Walt Reichelt, Susan Stewart, Rufus Lee, Magaret Manthei, Robert Sherman and Frank Welch.

The board members apparently worked around the clock to get ready for the critical general meeting Feb. 25, 1969: “Do we proceed or quit?” They had arrived at a 50-year lease agreement with the school board for a 0.6 acre parcel adjacent to the Barranca Mesa Elementary School with parking privileges during the swimming season at a cost of $350 per year. They had committed a contractor to a construction price of $150,000 and a time to completion of three months. And, last but not least, they had augmented the association to 135 members. The price for a membership was up to $525.

Eureka! The association decided to proceed, the pool was completed and opened in the middle of June with 146 members, manager Ray Shopp and a staff of five, including one “basket girl.” Remember that members used baskets to store their belongings on the shelves in the “basket room.”

As the demand for memberships increased with the expansion of Barranca Mesa, their number was increased from 200 to 300 in 1977.

“This year our pool has been open every summer for the last 45 years; and I have high hopes that it will continue to do so for many more years to come with the proper ‘tender loving care’ by its members and its board,” said Jorg Jensen, original member and long time board member. 

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo