Members of the Boardman Tennis and Swim Club, 6907 West Boulevard, are planning a special celebration from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, July 6 as the club turns 50. Several of the original founding membership were at the club on Friday, June 21 and were glad to tell stories from the early days of the club.
According to James Dunn, one of the original members, the whole thing started in the early 1960s. Neighbors around West Boulevard and the surrounding area, including some Canfield residents, wanted to have a nice place to go swimming. The idea came up to have a private swim club.
"A group of residents each gave $25 to put in a pool," James said.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Celebrating 50 years of the Boardman Tennis and Swim Club on Friday were seven of its original membership who have stayed on the rosters since it opened. Attending were James Dunn, Peggy Brian, Bette Dunn, Judy Sommerlad, Aileen Keppler, Betty Thompson, and Martie Seidner.
The original location was further north according to 50-year member Judy Sommerlad.
"Originally it was to be built next to West Boulevard Elementary School," she said, "but the farmer who owned that land wanted too much money."
The group didn't give up on the dream and ended up with the property next to the apartment complex behind the former A&W. An Olympic-size swimming pool was constructed and on Memorial Day 1963, the Canfield-Boardman Swim Club officially opened. The opening would be short lived though.
Fifty-year member Betty Thompson said, "Two days after it was opened for us to swim, there was a bad storm. The rain washed dirt and mud into the pool and forced it to be closed."
The pool remained closed while the drainage problems were addressed. It reopened on the Fourth of July weekend of 1963 and has since grown to its present membership of 400 families. According to current board president Jeff Barone, 400 families is the limit and a new family can only become a member when, and if, a current member decides to sell their stock in the club.
"We have been sold out for the past three years," Barone said.
The BTSC has a handful of original members from 50 years ago that include Peggy Brian, James and Bette Dunn, Marilyn Entzi, Aileen Keppler, Margie Morrisroe, Martie Seidner, Judy Sommerlad, and Betty Thompson. They were among those who originally put up the funding and have remained members ever since. The BTSC founders include President Robert Froom, Vice President Myron Leonard, Treasurer Ronald Dalleske, Secretary William Barth and directors Clarence Custer, Wayne Ridinger, Joseph Stephens, Robert Thompson, Clarence Wilson, and Paul Zellers. Club manager at that time was Oscar Pannier.
Later, the clay tennis courts were added and members could get in some play time, then go for a cool dip in the pool. Over the years, the club has developed youth and adult sports team. There are close to 50 adults and youth who participate in the tennis programs. The BTSC swim team boasts more than 100 members who compete in the Youngstown Swim League.
While many enjoy being part of a competitive team, many members simply enjoy a splash in the water or a relaxing afternoon with friends under one of the club's shade trees. The Dunns said they still enjoy the water and regularly come to the pool just to walk in the water for exercise.
Others, such as 50-year-member Aileen Keppler, enjoyed just passing the time under a comfortable shade tree while playing cards with her friends.
"We have magnetic cards that won't blow away in the wind," she said.
While the members enjoy the benefits of belonging to the BTSC, the club board of directors and staff work hard to ensure the club is maintained properly.
"We have put $100,000 into the club over the last four years," Barone said. "And that is without dipping into cash reserves or raising dues. It is what happens when the board and members work together."
The July 6 anniversary celebration will feature an array of activities including beach tennis-volley a ping pong ball, which requires the use of flippers to hit the ball into an ice cooler. The event will wrap up at 9 p.m. with closing remarks and the presentation of a BTSC highlights DVD.