Easter Seals Iowa Opens New Therapy Pool at Camp Sunnyside

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Easter Seals Iowa Disability Services is cutting the ribbon on the McAninch Family Aquatic Center.

"Doug and Donna McAninch were kind of champions in this effort to help us go out into the community and find funds. A lot of support came from Polk County Supervisors, the Variety Children's Charity, as well as the state of Iowa and other individuals to make this happen," Board Chair Rochelle Burnett said.

The pool was installed in 1962 and was a normal rectangular pool. Now it looks much different and is more accessible for people who have special needs or disabilities.

"The average life of a pool is 20 years and we had well exceeded that," President Sherri Nielsen said.

"It's a zero entry pool which is really exciting. So all types of disabilities and ages can easily get in and out of the pool and that's super  important to us. It goes all the way to nine feet in the deep end," Burnett said.

The pool is located at Camp Sunnyside, 401 NE 66th Avenue, and is opening just in time for summer camp to start on Monday.

"On average we have about 400 people on site here in the summer. So we will use it as an integral part of our programming. Individuals with disabilities sometimes don't have the same opportunity to exercise and this allows them to come the pool and be able to exercise no matter their mobility issues," Nielsen said.

But the pool is not just for summer camp, it is used year-round.

"It is year round and that's the exciting news. We have respite weekends all through the year out here. It gives clients and kids opportunities to do fun things on the weekends, but it's a big time in the summer with all of our campers here," Burnett said.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg will be speaking at the ribbon cutting Thursday to officially open the pool.