New Life Ahead

Madison’s Crystal Beach renovation plan to begin work in January 2021

Area are residents excited about the upgrades

(December 2020) – Martha Jane Shimfessel is such an enthusiastic supporter of Crystal Beach in Madison, Ind., that she attended the Nov. 12 public hearing to learn about the new plans to upgrade the park. “I was really excited to hear they are going to renovate Crystal Beach,” she said. Shimfessel, a life-long resident of Madison and remembers swimming in the pool as a child. She still lives downtown in the house where she was born. Her children and grandchildren have also enjoyed swimming in the pool through the years.
At the meeting, Nicole Schell, City Planner and Preservation Coordinator for the city of Madison provided an overview of the scope of the renovations to pool house, concession stands, pool deck, liner and fencing.
“The application for a $2 million Community Development Block Grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural affairs was scheduled to be completed by the end of November. An additional $200,000 of matching funds will be provided by the city of Madison,” she said. The bids are set to be reviewed and awarded in January 2021. The work is scheduled to begin in January and continue until the pool opens for the season. The remaining work will be completed after the pool closes in fall 2021.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Crystal Beach Pavilion in Madison, Ind., dates back to the Depression era but is about to get a $2.2 million facelift and renovation.

This property was built by the Works Project Administration and bears a stone plaque near the front entrance stating: “W.P.A. 1938 Board of Public Works.” The Madison mayor at the time was Marcus R. Sulzer, and the original architect was Lester Routt.
The WPA was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 during the Great Depression. Approximately 8.5 million people were employed from 1935-1943 to complete public infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals, bridges, airfields, roads, storm drains and sewers. 
“The WPA also built many community pools like Crystal Beach during that time. One of the goals of this project was to extend the use of the facility beyond the normal summer season,” Ed Curtin explained. Curtin, owner of CWC Latitudes LLC in Seymour, Ind., is serving as the Project Manager. That goal will be accomplished by adding heating to the first floor. Access to the restrooms will be secured so that they can be used during spring and fall festivals, even though the pool is not open. In addition, the large second floor is being upgraded with new restrooms, a warming kitchen for catering, and new decking so that the open space of approximately 2,900 square feet will be available for event rental. The second floor will have both heating and air conditioning.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Martha Jane Shimfessel is an avid visitor to Crystal Beach, where she goes to read, sun and exercise with friends.

Additional details about the project scope include modifications to improve accessibility. The renovations to the pool house will convert the main hallway to a ramp. This will eliminate a step down to the pool deck. Renovations and upgrades to the restrooms and locker rooms will also enhance accessibility. An elevator is being added to improve access to the second floor.
“Dealing with an 82-year-old building always presents the opportunity for surprises during renovation,” Curtin noted. The project is addressing known issues due to the age of the building, such as replacing the windows. All of the new mechanicals and HVAC will be located on the second floor, above the 100-year flood level. 
As the discussion concluded, Matt Wirth, executive director of Economic Development for the city of Madison, said, “Crystal Beach has been a fixture in our community for a very long time, and this renovation will ensure it continues to be a vital part of our quality of life here in Madison.  Our Stellar Grant committee and Park Board have worked very hard to gather input and incorporate ideas into the design that will allow families to continue to enjoy this wonderful asset.”


Shimfessel, 81, said she is looking forward to seeing the changes next summer. “I go to the pool with a group of friends every day to sit in the sun,” she said. “I do my exercises in the water. We had a great turnout this year. Swimming lessons are available as well as classes for seniors. There have been more adults at the pool in the last few years. They try to improve it every year. I bought a season pass for $40. It is a great deal. I just like the water, the sun and the people. It is just beautiful down there on the river.

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