People smile for a photo at the Dakin Pool in Bangor in this 2018 file photo. Credit: Caitlin Rogers / BDN

A Bangor nonprofit founded nearly 20 years ago to fund repairs to the Dakin Pool has reorganized to resurrect the struggling neighborhood swimming area.

Friends of Dakin Pool, led by a board of directors composed of Bangor residents, on Wednesday announced its new fundraising campaign, Jump In! The Campaign to Support Dakin Pool, with a $160,000 goal. The money raised will support renovations and programming at the Pine Street pool.

Approximately $120,000 of the money raised will replace the pool slide, repair the pool house and fund future projects, according to the nonprofit. Another $22,000 will create scholarships for lifeguard training, pay swim fees for children and support aquatic exercise programs. The remaining $18,000 will cover the nonprofit’s annual and campaign expenses.

“We reorganized this nonprofit, the Friends of Dakin Pool, to help maintain this pool for the kids and families of Bangor’s east side,” Mike Robinson, president of the organization, wrote Wednesday. “We have 11 Bangor residents on our board of directors who believe deeply in doing everything we can to provide wonderful summer memories at Dakin Pool.”

The board reconnected last summer when the city struggled to staff lifeguards at the pool, ultimately leading to the facility’s closure for part of the summer. The group urged city officials to raise the hourly wage for municipal lifeguards and use incentives like sign-on bonuses to draw people to the job in late June, and the pool reopened with limited hours the following month.

The volunteers also hosted a pizza party at the pool last summer and provided lunch for the lifeguards. This summer, the group plans to have more events to bring families to the pool.

State Sen. Joe Baldacci, D-Bangor, serves as the nonprofit’s vice president. The board of directors also includes Kim Livingstone, Wayne Mallar, Jennifer Eastman, Carrie Beyeler, John Beyeler, Sonia Mallar, Gerry “GP” Palmer, Joe Perry and Margaret Shalhoob.

The organization’s new fundraising campaign mimics a 2005 campaign, which carried a $154,000 goal to build a new pool house and provide free admission for children for eight years.  

Seventeen years ago, the Friends of Dakin Pool boasted hundreds of members and met its fundraising goal over seven months through spaghetti dinners and hefty donations from L.L. Bean, Bangor Savings Bank and Stephen King, Robinson told the Bangor Daily News last summer.

The Dakin Pool, Bangor’s first public pool, opened in June 1956. It’s named for Eugene Dakin, because the pool was built on land previously occupied by the Bangor bicycle shop, which Dakin founded.

Today, the pool is one of the city’s two public pools. The Dakin Pool on Bangor’s east side can accommodate about 150 swimmers, but the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Center on the west side has a 350-swimmer capacity.

Donations to the nonprofit can be made by sending checks payable to Friends of Dakin Pool to 6 State St., Suite 605, Bangor, ME 04401.

Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated Dakin Pool’s capacity.

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...